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J Musculoskelet Neuronal Interact., 2000; 1(1): 5-9, PMID: 15758517

Why the ISMNI and the Utah paradigm? Their role in skeletal and extraskeletal disorders

Year: 2000

Frost HM
Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, Southern Colorado Clinic, Pueblo 81008-9000, USA.


Besides bringing problems, aging can let the mind"s eye see more clearly than before, and it can let us express ourselves better. As age, experience and common sense examine today"s skeletal medicine and surgery two questions keep popping up: A) How did we fail?; B) How to make it better? The Utah paradigm of skeletal physiology and the seminal ISMNI offer some answers, but exploiting them faces problems. Problem #1: By 1960 all clinicians and physiologists "knew" (as the ancients "knew" this world is flat) that effector cells controlled solely by nonmechanical agents explain all skeletal physiology and disorders ("effector cells" include osteoblasts, osteoclasts, chondroblasts and fibro-blasts). Or, nonmechanical agents -->cell level -->organ and intact subject. Adding later-discovered information to that 1960 view led to the Utah paradigm, which reveals the formerly hidden tissue-level "dimension" of skeletal physiology. It builds on this idea: (mechanical + nonmechanical agents) -->(tissue level + cell level) --> organ and intact subject. The paradigm assigns great influence of neuromuscular physiology and physical activities on skeletal architecture, strength and mechanical competence. It also exposes flaws in many older views so controversies arise. Problem #2: The Utah paradigm and Wegner"s concept of plate tectonics in geology seem alike in that each is valid but came before its time, so others fought it. They differ in this: The fight about Wegner"s idea is over, but for the Utah paradigm and the ISMNI it just began. Hence more controversies. Nevertheless: A growing minority realizes that paradigm provides a far better base to build on than its antecedents, and since it keeps evolving as more evidence comes in it could endure for some decades. Yet very few realize this: It and the ISMNI have important implications for fields besides biomechanics and orthopaedics. Examples include anatomy, cardiovascular disease, dentistry, endocrinology, family medicine, gastroenterology, general surgery, genetics, gerontology, gynecology, maxillofacial surgery, neurology, neurosurgery, nutrition, ophthalmology, pathology, pediatrics, physical medicine and rehabilitation, plastic surgery, radiology, rheumatology, space and sports medicine, and urology. Quite a list! For the italicized questions above this article offers answers, of which its conclusion distills an essence.

GID: 1601; Last update: 19.11.2008
More information: Original Article