Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Mending a Broken Heart

Contrary to popular belief, the human heart has the capacity to regenerate itself.

A team of researchers, led by Dr. Jonas Frisén at the prestigious Karolinska Institute in Stockholm, has discovered that about half of the heart’s muscle cells are replaced over the course of a normal lifetime. (About 1% of the cells are replaced every year at age 25, with the rate gradually falling to less than 0.5% per year by age 75.)

“I think this will be one of the most important papers in cardiovascular medicine in years,” says Dr. Charles Murray, a heart researcher at the University of Washington, The New York Times reports.

In 1987, Dr. Piero Anversa, now director of the Center for Regenerative Medicine at Harvard Medical School, suggested that that heart muscle cells are renewed so fast that at 80, a person has replaced his heart four times over.

According to the Centers for Disease Control, heart disease is the leading cause of death in the U.S. If scientists are able to discover how the regeneration of heart muscle cells is regulated, it may be possible for the pharma industry to develop a whole new range of cardiovascular drugs to help fix wounded hearts.

Labels: , , , , , , , , , , , , ,


Post a Comment

<< Home