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.
A recent study from researchers at the University of Oxford has looked at using a new technique to scan patients' hearts, without the need to inject a potentially dangerous substance. The method could significantly improve treatment, providing imagery that's much easier for doctors to understand.
A new study carried out by King's College London is looking to create virtual heart avatars to aid in the treatment of a serious congenital heart defect that affects thousands of newborns. The condition, known as hypoplastic left heart syndrome (HLHS), is known to affect rougly one in 5,000 newborns each year.
Cardiologists have used Google Glass to unblock a coronary artery in a 49-year-old male. Three-dimensional reconstructions of the artery were loaded onto a custom application and displayed through the augmented reality headset during the procedure, better allowing physicians to guide a catheter to the clogged up area.
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.
Perhaps you sleep on a memory foam mattress. Well, in the future, a similar material could be used to create artificial body parts. Researchers at Cornell University recently used their new "elastomer foam" to build a functioning fluid pump that looks and works like a human heart.
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.
A new system for growing heart tissue in the lab may make future heart, liver, and lung repair much easier. University of Toronto scientists have developed asymmetrical honeycomb-shaped 2D meshes of protein scaffolding that stick together like Velcro and imitate the environments in which tissue and muscle cells grow in the body.
When blood clots form in the aftermath of a heart attack or stroke, medications can be deployed to break them apart, but delivery is tricky. Getting the medicine to the clot takes some guesswork and there's no guarantee it will arrive in the right dosage, with complications like hemorrhaging a real possibility. A team of Australian scientists has developed a new approach that sees the drugs carried safely inside a nanocapsule, opening up the treatment to more patients and lessening the chance of side effects.
The same genes that allow many cancers to proliferate and thrive could in the future be repurposed as a force for good. A study at the San Diego State University (SDSU) Heart Institute has found that mouse hearts regenerate cells better, causing the mice to live longer, when their progenitor cells are modified to over-express a key gene in cancer production. The researchers believe this could lead to a new treatment for people with heart disease or who have suffered from other age-related cardiac problems.