Biomedical Engineering Blog

Biomedical Engineering

The Biomedical Engineering blog is the place for conversation and discussion about topics related to engineering principles of the medical field. Here, you'll find everything from discussions about emerging medical technologies to advances in medical research. The blog's owner, Chelsey H, is a graduate of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI) with a degree in Biomedical Engineering.

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Fixing a Broken Heart

Posted August 29, 2007 8:51 AM by shanlax

Chest pains. The pumping of blood. The beating of a heart. A doctor saves a patient's life, but the battle isn't over. A heart attack leaves scar tissue that makes it difficult for the heart to contract properly. Sometimes, dead scar tissue causes part of the heart wall to expand when it should contract. This can lead to long-lasting heart problems and other serious medical conditions. Although there are medications (inhibitors) that help to keep the shape of the heart and restore its functions, they can't regenerate the destroyed tissue.

So how do you fix a broken heart?

The human heart is difficult to repair because it's made of post-mitotic muscle. (Mitosis is the process in cell division by which the nucleus divides, normally resulting in two new nuclei.) Fortunately, doctors know that cells from bone marrow can clear dead tissue after a heart attack. Now, medical researchers are learning how stem cells from bone marrow can help to revitalize the heart.

As previously discussed in this blog, researchers are taking stem cells from adult bone marrow and separating out mesenchymal cells, which help to form several different types of cells. Because mesenchymal stem cells originate within the patient's own body, they don't harm the immune system. They also allow for treatments without a donor, reduce waiting times, and improve overall patient outcomes.

Research at Johns Hopkins University has shown that stem cells from bone marrow can also help provide the heart with a near-complete recovery within two months. Researchers at the Baltimore-based institution have conducted trials with stem cells on pigs, whose circulatory systems are comparable to humans'. As described in Regeneration of the Mind, these bone marrow cells can be taken directly from the patient, eliminating the need for a donor and therefore speeding the treatment process.

During trials, half of the test subjects at Johns Hopkins received the mesenchymal stem cell therapy, which was delivered to the heart with a special catheter. The other group was injected with a placebo. Of these two groups, the hearts of those who received the stem cell therapy underwent a full or near-full recovery. The hearts of test subjects who did not receive the stem cell therapy worsened over time, most likely because of the scarring of dead tissue in the heart.

If doctors can fix adult broken hearts, what can be done for children? Next week, we'll examine what's going on in the world of research for kids suffering from heart diseases.

resource

http://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/Press_releases/2006/11_13_06.html

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Join Date: Feb 2006
Location: Piney Flats, Tennessee
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Good Answers: 23
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Re: Fixing a Broken Heart

09/04/2007 12:29 PM

the intake and outlet vaulves of the heart are huge but the decending line that move blood from intake to outlet is so small. When it become clogged a lot of pain follows. If there was so way of increasing the size of the decending line and move blood eaiser without making the heart weak or lowering the blood pressure we coud possible see a furture in bllod cleaning technology from inside the body as small lots like the head of a pin could not longer threaten life as easily.

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