I read a very promising and yet at the same time, a very troubling study today. A team of researchers at the University of Boulder have been experimenting with stem cells and wound healing. By injecting stem cells into the injured area, they were able to speed up the healing process and foster tissue regeneration. What they discovered next is where I get concerned. The mice in the study (I hate animal studies to begin with) not only healed, but increased their muscle mass in the injected areas – PERMANENTLY. That’s right. A single injection of stem cells into muscle seems to create a permanent increase in muscle mass in the injected muscle. Will this bring about the end of exercise? Will it bring fairness in sport to it’s knees? Will the future of sport be one of who can tolerate the greatest number of injections? Will running stores and gyms become obsolete? Will the barefoot running craze turn into the barefoot easy chair craze?
Although I am quite fond of the physiological benefits of my running fitness, the aspect of being athletic that I enjoy the most is the clear, calm, sharp and focused mental and emotional experience that is produced when I run. This cannot be created by an injection of stem cells… Or can it?