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Heart

Medical

Transplanted pig heart kept ticking for over two years

Researchers from the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute (NHLBI) in Bethesda, Maryland, have managed to keep a pig heart beating for 945 days inside the body of a live baboon. This record-breaking outcome leaves scientists hopeful for the potential for xenotransplantation, the transplantation of animal organs or tissues into humans, to address worldwide organ shortages.Read More

Medical

Cyborg cardiac patch offers alternative to heart transplants

An engineered cardiac patch has been created that incorporates human cells with flexible electronics and a nanocomposite structure to not only replace damaged heart tissue, but also provide remote monitoring, electrical stimulation, and the release of medication on demand. Using electroactive polymers and a combination of biological and engineered parts, the patch contracts and expands just like normal human heart tissue, but regulates those actions with the precision of a finely-tuned machine.Read More

Medical

Stripping donor hearts and repopulating them with recipient-derived stem cells

Heart transplants have been around since 1967, but they're still anything but routine. In an effort to ensure a steady supply of compatible organs, a team of scientists from Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) is working on ways to create bioengineered human hearts by first stripping donor hearts of cells that could provoke an immune response in a potential recipient, and then using the recipient's own induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) to generate cardiac muscle cells that can be used to repopulate the heart in an automated bioreactor system.Read More

Medical

Electrically-trained muscle cells get damaged hearts pumping

Repairing damaged hearts with healthy cells derived from the patient's own skin or blood is a promising approach to tackling cardiovascular disease, but it does have its limitations. Difficulty in getting the young, freshly implanted cells to integrate and beat in-synch with the surrounding muscle has so far held the technique back. Now scientists are reporting an important advance in this area, demonstrating for the first time that electrically stimulating the new cells can give their development a critical boost. Read More

Medical

Smartphone stethoscope reportedly "just as good" as traditional models

Although peripheral devices now allow smartphones to serve as everything from weather stations to eye-examiners, it's typically thought that genuine purpose-built tools still perform best. In the case of stethoscopes, however, that may not be the case. Researchers with Florida-based Orlando Health recently determined that HeartBuds – a new stethoscope device/app – performed as well as traditional stethoscopes, and better than a commonly-used disposable model.Read More

Medical

Hydrogel boosts uptake of stem cells in repairing damaged hearts

With their ability to help repair damaged muscle, stem cells have shown promise as tools for rebuilding the body's organs, but their potential is yet to be fully realized – especially when it comes to the heart. Part of this is because only a small percentage of stem cells injected actually survive the process, but a newly developed liquid could make life a little easier for freshly transplanted cells. Researchers have found that encapsulating them in a sticky hydrogel gives them the ability to not only survive, but multiply and improve the injured heart's ability to pump blood. Read More

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