By David Coppedge

A team of biophysicists at University of Illinois ran a computation for six months to find out why blood clots are stretchy. The primary protein in the clot, fibrinogen, can stretch two to three times its resting size. By studying the force on every atom in the protein, ScienceDaily1 said, they produced a force curve that matches the force measured on actual fibrinogen.

Understanding clotting is important, because “Blood clots can save lives, staunching blood loss after injury, but they can also kill,” the article began. “Let loose in the bloodstream, a clot can cause a heart attack, stroke or pulmonary embolism.” It is important for clots to be elastic because “they have a mechanical function to withstand blood pressure.”

Tots learn from their mommies that their scratches will heal, so they don’t need to worry about being scarred for life. We grew up accepting that as a given. Imagine, though, having every scratch or cut from our youth a permanent disfigurement or point of blood leakage. We would be covered head to toe in bandages as adults. The life of hemophiliacs illustrates the point: when the blood clotting process breaks down, even a small cut is life-threatening….

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