Through the glycocalyx looking glass: sugars and optics will alter the future of wound healing

02 September 2020
Volume 4 · Issue 4

‘Science is the one human activity that is truly progressive. The body of positive knowledge is transmitted from generation to generation’

Edwin P Hubble, 1889–1953

The year was 1923, Edwin Hubble aimed his earth-bound telescope towards the heavens, forever altering the course of astronomy. The dogma of the day maintained that the Milky Way was an isolated ‘island universe’. Through diligent observation, the star V1 was proven to be outside our universe, creating the now accepted paradigm shift; the existence of a vast diversity of billions of rapidly expanding universes. Hubble's namesake orbital telescope has further expanded both our knowledge and questions of the limits of space and time. The spectacular images seen through the lens of the Hubble telescope have opened our hearts, souls and minds to creativity, both intergalactic and terrestrial.

In 1896, 27 years earlier, down in the depths of Guy's Hospital physiology laboratory, 30-year-old Ernest Henry Starling was observing through another set of lenses on the microscopic scale. His mission was solving the characteristics of ‘the absorption of fluids from the connective tissue spaces’. The reabsorption of fluid into the vasculature was theorised but not confirmed. Starling's detailed canine experimentation resulted in his namesake ‘Starling Curve’, and now defunct dogma that persists in the medical lecture halls of 2020; 90% of interstitial fluid does not truly return to the venous vasculature due to the existence of the glycocalyx.

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