Skip to content

Category: heartattack

Light-sensitive bacteria could save you during a heart attack

Heart attacks are frightening by themselves, but they're made worse by the potential for lasting damage. Even a brief interruption to blood flow could permanently destroy vital tissue that keeps your heart beating as usual. However, there might be a way to mitigate or even prevent that damage. Scientists have discovered that a light-sensitive bacteria, synechococcus elongatus, can keep oxygen coming in the midst of a heart attack. Much like a plant, the bacteria both draws on photosynthesis for energy and turns both CO2 and water into oxygen. If you expose it to light soon after the attack, you can maintain oxygen levels and increase the heart's blood-pumping ability after the attack is over.

In lab rats, the results were dramatic. Oxygen levels were 25 times higher 10 minutes after the attack, and the hearts pumped 60 percent more blood 45 minutes after the attack. If you could use this as an emergency treatment in humans, it could mean the difference between outright heart failure and a reasonably healthy patient.

The emphasis is on "if," however. It's easy to shine light into the small body of a rat; it's tougher to do that with humans, who have thicker heart muscles (and are much larger, of course). There's also the question of whether or not the bacteria are completely safe. Don't count on this solution reaching hospitals soon, if at all. Nonetheless, the discovery is promising: it suggests that there's a way to protect your heart against long-term harm even as doctors race to save you from the immediate threat.

Source: Science, Science Advances

Comments closed

Skin-grown cells could help you recover from heart attacks

Scientists have taken numerous shots at repairing hearts following heart attacks, but an experimental approach might do a better job than most. Japanese researchers are developing a technique that repairs hearts using cells grown from the skin of a genetically similar donor. If you convert stem cells into heart cells and inject them into affected areas, they can replace damaged tissue and help the organ pump more like it did before the attack.

Early tests with monkeys are far from perfect. The cells only repaired repaired 16 percent of damaged tissue, and the monkeys still needed drugs to prevent their bodies from rejecting donor cells (in theory, that shouldn't be necessary with this technique). The simians also developed irregular heartbeats, although those might only be temporary. If the team can refine its technique, though, there could be a time when a heart attack doesn't leave you quite so weakened as it does today.

Via: The Guardian

Source: Nature

Comments closed
%d bloggers like this: