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New findings have identified a blood test which could predict heart attack or stroke weeks...

Roughly two and a half million Americans suffer a heart attack or a stroke each year. About 20% of these - half a million people - die in the aftermath. The proximate cause for both heart attack and stroke is a blood clot in the wrong place - a blood clot that could be prevented or minimized by anti-clot therapy IF physicians knew that an attack or stroke was expected shortly. New findings from a research study led by Scripps Translational Science Institute (STSI) has identified a new blood test which has the promise of predicting heart attack or stroke weeks prior to their occurrence.  Read More

A prototype pacemaker created by engineers from the University of Michigan could someday d...

A heart-powered pacemaker may sound counter-intuitive, but in essence this is precisely what aerospace engineers from the University of Michigan are proposing. The engineers have come up with a prototype powered by vibrations in the chest cavity - vibrations which are caused mainly by the beating of the heart.  Read More

Disks made from cocoons of the tasar silkworm may find use as patches for regrowing cardia...

Although people do regularly recover from heart attacks, the heart itself never entirely “gets better.” This is because cardiac muscle tissue doesn’t regenerate – any that dies in the event of a heart attack will only be replaced with inactive scar tissue, and the heart’s performance will be permanently compromised as a result. Scientists have responded by trying to develop heart patches made of materials that act as nanoscale scaffolds, upon which new cardiomyocytes (heart cells) can grow. Materials used for these scaffolds have included fibrin, nanofiber, gold nanowires and polymer. Now, new research is suggesting that silkworm silk may be a better choice than any of those.  Read More

A scanning electron microscope image of the nanowire-alginate composite scaffolds, showing...

Around the world, scientists have been working on ways of replacing the heart tissue that dies when a heart attack occurs. These efforts have resulted in heart "patches" that are made from actual cardiomyocytes (heart muscle cells), or that encourage surrounding heart cells to grow into them. One problem with some such patches, however, lies in the fact that that they consist of cardiomyocytes set within a scaffolding of poorly-conductive materials. This means that they are insulated from the electrical signals sent out by the heart, so they don't expand and contract as the heart beats. Scientists at MIT, however, may be on the way to a solution.  Read More

Scientists at Stanford University have created heart cells that contract when exposed to l...

Working their way towards energy-efficient pacemakers that use light pulses to control the beating of the heart, scientists at New York's Stony Brook University recently developed optogenetic heart tissue – it contracts when exposed to light. More specifically, they took donor cells that had been modified to respond to light, and coupled them to conventional heart cells. A team from California’s Stanford University, however, has now created actual optogenetic heart cells.  Read More

Scientists have developed heart tissue that contracts when exposed to light, which could p...

There's no denying that pacemakers are life-saving devices, but they do have their limitations. These include the facts that their metal leads can break, they need to be surgically accessed if their batteries run out, and they can be disrupted by strong magnetic fields. Some or all of these problems may one day become things of the past, however, due to research currently being conducted at New York's Stony Brook University - scientists there are working towards the development of pacemakers that control the heart through pulses of light.  Read More

An experimental wireless power system could reduce infections in patients with implanted h...

While implantable heart pumps may buy some time for people waiting to undergo heart transplants, such implants have at least one serious drawback – because they receive their power from an external source, a power cord must protrude through the skin of the patient’s belly. About 40 percent of patients experience infections of that opening, which often require rehospitalization, and in extreme cases can even cause death. The presence of that cord also makes it impossible for patients to swim or take baths. Researchers from the University of Washington and the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center are attempting to put an end to the troublesome cords, however, by developing a system that wirelessly transmits power to heart pumps.  Read More

A newly-created carbon nanofiber patch could be used to regenerate heart cells, killed by ...

When someone has a heart attack, the cells in the affected area of the heart die off, and the damage can’t be repaired. In the not-so-distant future, however, that may not be the case. Engineers from Rhode Island’s Brown University, working with colleagues in India, have created a carbon nanofiber patch that has been shown to regenerate heart cells. It is hoped that such patches could eventually be placed on the heart, like a Band-Aid, to regrow dead areas.  Read More

The endocardial balloon catheter with a stretchable array of sensors and electrodes, desig...

When a patient has an arrhythmia (an irregular heartbeat), cardiologists will often treat the disorder by inserting two tube-like catheters into the patient’s heart. The first catheter is used for mapping out the heart tissue, identifying the location of cells that are causing the arrhythmia. The second catheter, which has an electrode on the end, is then directed to those locations, where it kills the aberrant cells in a process known as ablation. Scientists have recently developed a single catheter with added stretchable electronics, however, that does both jobs in one step.  Read More

The University of Michigan Cardiovascular Center is examining the legality and basic logis...

Despite ongoing advances in prevention techniques and monitoring systems, heart disease remains the world’s leading cause of death. A study from the University of Michigan (U-M) Cardiovascular Center has looked to the past for a future remedy in a study that examines the legality and basic logistics of recycling pacemakers after they have been removed from a deceased person.  Read More

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