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7 men were in attendance at our July meeting.
First up for discussion was a news item on the subject of regenerative medicine: earlier this year, a man was able to re-grow an entire fingertip which had been sliced off in an accident involving a model plane years earlier.
Through a personal connection, he found a doctor who was able to prescribe a special powder that was put on the finger. It completely regrew in about a month - skin, bone, muscle, blood vessels, fingernail and everything. The powder used consists of extra-cellular matrix, a biological structure present in all connective tissue, providing a sort of structure for the cells of which it is comprised. [During our meeting we passed around printed copies of a news report, which is available online here.]
The extra-cellular matrix, once extracted from animal tissue and ground into powdered form, has been used in recent years in surgical settings - usually for repairing tendons. More recently, the US military has been researching the possibility of using it to re-grow amputated limbs of injured war veterans. This news item has also caught the attention of people involved in foreskin restoration. One man very active in the movement is very interested in the possible use of extra-cellular matrix in re-growing foreskin, as an alternative to the skin expansion methods conventionally used.
Next in our discussion was a current issue of Mothering Magazine, which has a huge cover article on circumcision and HIV. We passed around the magazine and reviewed the article, which is critical of the African study that promoted circumcision as a form of prevention for HIV infection.
Our coordinator has had contact with Chuck, the manufacturer of a restoration device called the DTR. This month he has donated one to NORM Southern California. His device is another that uses a rod pushing against the glans for tension on the inner foreskin ("DTR" stands for Dual Tension Restorer), similar to the devices discussed at the March 2008 meeting. [As with other devices we have in our library, this one can be found from the list at http://www.norm.org/devices.html]
A big thanks goes out to Chuck for his donation to the group.