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Heart

Medical

Flipping the switch on cell conversion could better repair damaged hearts

One complication that can arise from a heart attack is the formation of scar tissue, which can the harden organ's walls and impede its ability to pump blood. This is caused by fibroblast cells which move to replace damaged muscle with the scar tissue. New research conducted at the University of North Carolina's (UNC) School of Medicine suggests these cells could be converted to endothelial cells which actually assist in recovery, potentially minimizing the damage caused during a heart attack. Read More

Medical

Battery-less device powers a pacemaker using heartbeats

Although cardiac pacemakers have saved countless lives, they do have at least one shortcoming – like other electronic devices, their batteries wear out. When this happens, of course, surgery is required in order to replace the pacemaker. While some researchers are looking into ideas such as drawing power from blood sugar, Swiss scientists from the University of Bern have taken another approach. They’ve developed a wristwatch-inspired device that can power a pacemaker via the beating of the patient’s own heart. Read More

Medical

Gene therapy converts heart cells into "biological pacemakers"

Pacemakers serve an invaluable purpose, by electrically stimulating a recipient's heart in order to keep it beating at a steady rate. The implantation of a pacemaker is a major surgical procedure, however, plus its presence in the body can lead to complications such as infections. Now, for the first time, scientists have instead injected genes into the defective hearts of pigs, converting unspecialized heart cells into "biological pacemakers." Read More

Medical

Cardiac pacemaker powered by body's own muscles developed

Over the past few decades, cardiac pacemaker technology has improved to the point that pacemakers have become a commonplace medical implant that have helped improve or save the lives of many millions of people around the world. Unfortunately, the battery technology used to power these devices has not kept pace and the batteries need to be replaced on average every seven years, which requires further surgery. To address this problem, a group of researchers from Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST) has developed a cardiac pacemaker that is powered semi-permanently by harnessing energy from the body's own muscles.Read More

Health & Wellbeing

Cardio First Angel teaches CPR on the job

Performing cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) in the first 15 minutes following a heart attack can be a literal lifesaver, greatly increasing the victim's chances of survival. However, many people aren't trained in CPR and even those who are can be hesitant to step up in the vital first minutes that can mean the difference between life and death. The Cardio First Angel CPR coach is a simple mechanical device that guides even an untrained person in properly administering CPR.Read More

Medical

Human stem cells used to repair damaged monkey hearts

In what could mark a significant breakthrough in the treatment of heart disease, researchers at the University of Washington (UW) have successfully repaired damaged tissue in monkey hearts using cells created from human embryonic stem cells. The findings demonstrate an ability to produce these cells on an unprecedented scale and hold great potential for restoring functionally of damaged human hearts. Read More

Medical

Ultrasound device could help detect cause of heart attack and stroke

While existing ultrasound technologies are able to identify plaque buildup on artery walls, determining when that plaque is at risk of breaking off, resulting in a heart attack or stroke, has proven a more complicated task. A team of researchers from North Carolina State University has now developed a dual-frequency ultrasound device that could help identify so-called vulnerable plaque and enable a more accurate diagnosis for at-risk patients. Read More

Medical

"Mini hearts" on veins could be used to treat circulatory problems

When someone has chronic venous insufficiency, it means that because of faulty valves in their leg veins, oxygen-poor blood isn't able to be pumped back to their heart. The George Washington University's Dr. Narine Sarvazyan has created a possible solution, however – a beating "mini heart" that's wrapped around the vein, to help push the blood through. Read More

Medical

Fake muscles put new twist on artificial hearts

When you think of a beating heart, you probably just picture it flexing in and out, sort of like a rubber ball being squeezed by an invisible hand. In fact, though, its motion is more similar to that of a dish rag being wrung out, with the top of the organ twisting in a clockwise direction while the bottom contracts counterclockwise. It's known as the left ventricular twist, and scientists have now replicated it using artificial muscles. The research could lead to better-functioning cardiac implants, among other things. Read More

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