Question to think about: Did I properly explain what Bioelectricity is?
Bioelectricity is the phenomenon of electricity found in living organisms. Most people think that this only applies to animals like electric eels or sharks, but in reality, every living organism is affected by bioelectricity. It is essential for the functioning of living organisms and is needed for them to grow.
When someone mentions electricity found in a living organism, they usually think of electric eels and their ability to discharge electrical energy to stun or kill their prey. This is an example of bioelectricity, and a pretty blatant one at that. It’s not just marine animals that have adapted to use electricity, however. Every animal with a brain is a frequent user of electricity, as the brain is a fundamentally electrical organ. Memories are just electrical signals bouncing around in the brain, and the brain moves your muscles using electrical currents. Your whole nervous system is a set of highly specialized electrical wires. An EKG, used to measure your heart rate, is measuring electrical activity in the heart. A seizure is uncontrolled electrical activity in the brain. Prosthetic limbs use electrical signals from the brain to move. Plants also use bioelectricity in various ways. The famous Venus flytrap uses the same action potentials our heart uses to snap its trap shut. The Mimosa Pudica uses action potentials to close up.
In addition to this, cellular development is heavily reliant on electricity. DNA is responsible for telling cells what to build, and electricity is responsible for telling cells where and how to build. Experiments conducted by computer scientist and biologist Michael Levin have shown that if you change a few of the “transistors,” or the cellular signals, in a tadpole, it will grow a perfectly functional third eye right on its forehead. This shows that DNA only determines what is being built, while electricity is telling the cells where to build and how many to build.
The implications of this are massive. Scientists believe bioelectricity could be used as a much safer form of cell manipulation than CRISPR, as changing the current is like using nature’s prerecorded instructions to build a perfect copy of a body part. It’s like using ctrl-c and ctrl-v instead of typing a brand-new essay. This technology could be used to perfectly regrow the limbs of amputees, so they could get the limbs they need back.
Another medical use of Bioelectricity involves treating epilepsy using a procedure known as DBS, or Deep Brain Stimulation. It uses electrodes to stimulate the brain with electricity, and it helps the brain control its electricity.
Bioelectricity is a vital part of the function of organisms, and its widespread nature leads it to be used by animals to bacteria, making it extremely important for life to function. Scientists can use these signals to manipulate cells in a new way safer than ever seen before, providing vital new ways to regrow body parts, including whole limbs. It can also be used to treat seizures and other neurological issues. Bioelectricity is an essential piece of the puzzle when it comes to understanding and manipulating life, and its potential applications in medicine and biology are countless.