By Manel Esteller. doctor Josep Carreras Leukemia Research Institute.
An organ that amazes me is the eye. The retina, which translates the photons of light beams into nerve impulses, is nothing more than an extension of our brain that has gotten into our orbital socket.
Those who follow me already know of my interest in the exception, which is why it goes beyond the norm, because many times it allows the rule to be established, the most frequent thing that happens in the vast majority of occasions. In this sense, today I would like to briefly remind you of a few curiosities of the human body and its pathologies.
Aging is considered by some researchers as a disease. This is not my case, but I accept it as a consequence of life and of evolutionary utility. But beyond these disquisitions, what we all want is a gradual aging. That is, if you’ll pardon me, to die in perfect health. Well, there are people with very accelerated premature aging. These are the cases of progeria type Hutchinson-Gilford disease and Werner syndrome. These children, at the age of nine, look like they are ninety years old with baldness, arteriosclerosis and wrinkles, among other signs of old age. These individuals have mutations in genes for DNA repair and its structure at the level of the cell nucleus, and there are still no effective treatments. The study of these patients may provide us with clues about the physiological aging of the rest of the population.
When we talk about the largest organ in the human body, we scratch our heads and by curling our hair we can say that they are the lungs, the colon or the liver. But it all depends on the definition. For example, blood is perhaps the most abundant biological component, five liters of watery and cellular torrent that runs up and down us several times each day. Not even the Iguazú falls are that beautiful! But of course, we have an immense tissue that we often forget despite seeing it every day: our skin. All our organs do not spread out nor do external agents attack us because we are inside this elastic balloon that we call skin. Our first line of defense and our customs against invaders.
There is an organ that amazes me, which is the eye. This was one of the few points that made Darwin doubt his theory of evolution. How could a structure as small and complex as a gold pocket watch be due to random change and selection? Wasn’t it easier to think of a great maker? Today we know that this incredible contraption exhibits unique expression programs of genetic material and that there are hundreds of types of eyes and vision in nature. Let us also remember that the retina, which translates the photons of light beams into nerve impulses, is nothing more and nothing less than an extension of our brain that has entered our orbital socket. By the way, if you see a drawing of a section of the eye with all its components, it has always looked like a fish to me, as I have already commented on another occasion. The eyes as a mirror of the soul I leave it to the poets.