Bears heal during hibernation

It is a well-known fact that getting adequate rest and sleep plays an important role in healing. Not yet known was that the healing process of bears in hibernation is active. Observations of American black bears confirmed this fact.
The expectation was that not much of a bear’s energy would be expended on healing during hibernation, when a bear does not eat, drink, urinate or defecate, and the body temperature remains low (30-35 degrees Celsius). The results were surprising. The wounds American black bears had gotten just before or during their hibernation were completely healed at the end of the two- to three-month hibernation period. There were virtually no scars, and there was often even some hair growth on the wounds.

No one knows how this healing process is triggered during hibernation, but the researchers want to study it further. Knowledge about this process could be useful for humans who are underfed and/or undercooled. And of course the ability to heal without scars is intriguing.

The study has been published in the scientific journal Integrative Zoology.