Lee Spievak, RC flight enthusiast, knew something was wrong from the very moment his model plane loop-de-looped in the crisp spring air. The controls were unresponsive; it was as if the plane had a mind of its own. As the tiny toy flying machine dive-bombed towards him with the ruthlessness of a bird-of-prey, its propellor blades flashing like silver talons, Lee remembered a seemingly random event with the sudden clarity of newly forged associative connection. It was only yesterday that he had cut the side of his palm. Suddenly, Lee knew what was wrong: that model plane had tasted human blood. Worse? It wanted more. Knowing full-well that if he ran he would be chased down, Lee steeled himself, shielded his face with his hands. His finger slid through the plane’s blood-thirsting teeth and out the other side. His finger tip was gone, chewed up by a propellor and digested into a slurry.
It’s a terrible thing to lose part of a finger, but luckily, Lee had a connection: his brother, Alan, a shaman of regenerative medicine, who sent him a small packet of “pixie dust.” Like all good hoo-doo, the dust had comes from the remains of an animal: in this case, a pig’s bladder scraped of its lining. The resulting cells are formed into a cellular matrix which, placed on a wound, stimulates cells to grow rather than scar. Applying the powder liberally for a month, Lee claims he was able to grow the end of his finger back… an application that has obvious promise for helping people to re-grow skin, tissue, limbs or even organs.
Unfortunately, it seems like Lee might be full of it. His finger does appear to have been badly sliced, the tip lopped off, but the before-and-after pictures make clear that he lost neither bone nor nail. The pixie dust was likely nothing more than a psychological placebo, making Lee think the body’s normal healing process was miraculous. Which, of course, it is. But restoring a bit of flesh on the tip of a model plane enthusiast’s finger is a far cry from re-growing the amputated limbs of Iraq war veterans.