Friday, August 22, 2014
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Natural Family Planning (NFP) Builds a Culture of Life

The new counter-cultural call is for couples to joyfully open their marriage to the gift of life.

In our secular contraceptive culture, it is assumed that a married couple will, as a matter of course, avoid pregnancy. Only for very narrow windows of time does a couple welcome the conception of a child, if they do at all.

Marriage by its very definition ought to make openness to life the default position.
Many couples are learning that, instead of resorting to contraception, they can rely on one of the methods of Natural Family Planning (NFP) and abstain from marital relations when conception is likely.

As an added benefit, when the couple is ready to resume having children, the same fertility awareness system will identify when sex is most likely to result in pregnancy.

There are multiple systems of Natural Family Planning.

The Billings Method and the Creighton Model follow symptoms and changes in a woman’s cervical mucous to identify fertile periods.

The Symptothermal method adds the tracking of a woman’s basal body temperature to the cervical mucous observations. They all teach a woman to know her own body and to recognize the signs and symptoms of fertility.
Unlike artificial contraceptives, NFP is side-effect free and does not pollute the waterways with active hormone metabolites.

The greatest benefits of NFP, however, do not necessarily lie in its usefulness to achieve or avoid pregnancy, in its safety, or even in its ecological benefits.

An often forgotten feature of Natural Family Planning is that it strengthens both the spiritual and emotional aspects of marriage.

Couples who practice Natural Family Planning have a divorce rate of about 5%, markedly lower than the 50% divorce rate of couples who utilize contraception. Using NFP requires couples to communicate.

They have to talk to each other about whether or not reasons exist to postpone pregnancy.

They have to talk about whether or not it is a fertile time in the woman’s biological cycle.

They do not treat their conjugal relations as mere recreation, but as a very serious, basic union that identifies them as two people become one, for life.

Rather than distort their relationship with contraception, they exercise self-control as necessary for prudent parenthood.

July 22-July 28 is National Family Planning Awareness week. Use this week to strengthen your resolve to have a contraception-free marriage. Take advantage of the many resources available to learn about NFP and share this information.

Let’s build a culture where using NFP is normal, not radical. It enables virtue in both men and women.

NFP fortifies marriages. Natural Family Planning lifts children up as generous gifts.

NFP lays the foundation for an authentic culture of life.

[27 July 12, Denise J. Hunnell, M.D.,,]

Wound Healing: Extracellular Matrix (ECM) PDF Print E-mail


The extracellular matrix (ECM) is a complex structural entity surrounding and supporting cells that are found within mammalian tissues. The ECM is often referred to as the connective tissue.

The ECM is composed of 3 major classes of biomolecules:

1. Structural proteins: collagen and elastin.

2. Specialized proteins: e.g. fibrillin, fibronectin, and laminin.

3. Proteoglycans: these are composed of a protein core to which is attached long chains of repeating disaccharide units termed of glycosaminoglycans (GAGs) forming extremely complex high molecular weight components of the ECM. Proteoglycans are covered in the section on Glycosaminoglycans and Proteoglycans.

Key Points

   1. The extracellular matrix (ECM) is the largest component of normal skin and gives the skin its unique properties of elasticity, tensile strength and compressibility.
   2. In acute wounds the provisional wound matrix, containing fibrin and fibronectin, provides a scaffolding to direct cells into the injury, as well as stimulating them to proliferate, differentiate and synthesise new ECM.
   3. Chronic wounds contain increased levels of inflammatory cells, giving rise to elevated levels of proteases that appear to degrade the ECM components, growth factors and receptors that are essential for healing.
   4. Understanding of the importance of re-establishing a functional ECM in chronic wounds has led to technical advances and the development of products that reduce excessive protease levels or contribute functional ECM proteins, thereby facilitating the healing process.


The extracellular matrix (ECM) is the largest component of the dermal skin layer and the synthesis of ECM is a key feature of wound healing, especially when there has been a significant loss of tissue that precludes closure by primary intention. This article discusses the proteins contained in the ECM of normal skin that are important in the healing of acute and chronic wounds. In addition, the theory that the high levels of proteases found in chronic wounds impair healing by degrading essential components of the ECM is discussed using data from cell culture experiments and immunohistochemical analyses of wound biopsies.

As a consequence of this theory new dressings have been developed that are designed to reduce protease levels in wound fluids by providing a competitive substrate (collagen) for the proteases and thereby reducing proteolytic destruction of essential ECM components (fibronectin) and platelet-derived growth factors (PDGFs).

Other new approaches include the topical treatment of chronic wounds with agents that reduce the synthesis of matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs), such as a mixture of metal cations, and treatment with unique proteins (amelogenin) to replace the corrupted ECM.

Clinical and laboratory data now clearly show that components of the ECM play an important role in normal wound healing and that the destruction of ECM components impairs healing. This has lead to the development of new therapies that aim to reduce the destruction of ECM or re-establish undamaged ECM.

The extracellular matrix of normal skin

The largest component of normal skin is the ECM, a gel-like matrix produced by the cells that it surrounds (Figure 1).

The ECM is composed of a variety of polysaccharides, water and collagen proteins which give the skin remarkable properties [1], [2].

On a weight basis, the tensile (breaking) strength of normal skin approaches that of steel, yet skin also has substantial elasticity and compressibility. These properties are due to the combination of two main classes of ECM molecules, which are secreted by fibroblasts and epidermal cells. They are:

    * Fibrous structural proteins, including collagens, elastin and laminin, which give the ECM strength and resilience

    * Proteoglycans, such as dermatan sulfate and hyaluronan, typically consist of multiple glycosaminoglycan chains (formed from repeating disaccharide units) that branch from a linear protein core. Extracellular proteoglycans are large, highly hydrated molecules that help cushion cells in the ECM.
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60 Minutes segment --

3-Minute Overview of ACell Technology --

Images for ECM (for reports, etc)

Keywords: extracellular matrix (ECM); acute wounds; chronic wounds; proteoglycans; glycosaminoglycans; metalloproteinases; chemokines; wound bed preparation; wound dressings.

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