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Come In, Ma Bell, Wherever You Are

RICHARD HONG, MD
Am J Dis Child. 1975;129(4):417-418. doi:10.1001/archpedi.1975.02120410005001.
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In the complex world of today, it is difficult to conceive of a transaction that can operate effectively without good communication. Language, spoken or silent, directs us in countless ways in our daily lives; misinterpretation can lead to chaos. Breakdown of message relays can result in business catastrophes, wars, or marital dissolution. In the microcosm of our bodies, at the cellular level, there exist communication mechanisms with the same capabilities of creating harmony or wreaking havoc. The language of these cell-to-cell interactions is just beginning to be deciphered. We are used to the concept of neurological impulses instructing mass muscle movements with modulating influences coming from the cerebral cortex; the analogy to telephone messages is easy to comprehend. Directional influences that are just as specific operate at a cellular level, where the surface membrane serves as the central telephone exchange receiving and relaying messages.

Cell Communication Structures  The array of

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