The Cure for a Broken Heart
By E.M. Wollof from SLN More Blogs by This AuthorFrom the A New Itch Blog Series
Head lice anyone? Hah, made you itch......let's scratch it!
Researchers in Australia have recently found heart stem cells that can be used to regenerate and repair damaged heart muscles and vessels. Considering that over 600,000 people die every year from heart disease (America only), seems to be that this research is fairly important.
From the Heart
The stem cells are found in the hearts of cute little mice (yes that's right, only the cute ones, not those that stare at you giving off the "If I were out of this cage and about 100 times larger, we'd see who would be running on this wheel" look). The Aussie researchers found that the cells became active in the mice whenever there was tissue damage to the heart from either an attack or just old age. The main role of the cells being to replace damaged vessels with healthy ones, actually improving the performance of the organ in the process.
The researchers hypothesize that if the cells can be replicated to work in a human host that they could be capable of not only replacing damaged tissue but actually regenerating said tissue on the fly.
The US recently published research on the use of bone marrow stem cells for the same purposes. In their research, not only did the cells repair the damage to the heart, but it also improved the beat of the heart, both in tempo and power.
The theory that both parties have come up with involves the combination of stem cells to create a new type of regenerating force in the body. The end game to it all being, instead of extracting these cells from one subject, growing/manipulating them in a lab and then injecting them into a patient, the understanding of the cells will allow the health professionals to merely "activate" them in the patient.
There is no doubt that some of the theories in play here are waaayy in the future, but the discovery of such powerful cells and the potential they represent is exciting in many ways. As mentioned above, and every other second by the modern media, heart disease is at epidemic levels and any help would be nice.
Itch=Scratched...see you next week.