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Study proves heart can grow new cells

When a person gets a cut or breaks a bone, these wounds can heal. However, damage to the heart has been thought to be irreparable for a very long time. This is because the heart was thought to be unable to grow new cells. A recent study conducted by Jonas Frisen of the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm shows otherwise. The study concluded that about 1 percent of the heart muscles are replaced every 25 years and this number falls to less than 0.5 percent by age 75.

Cell turnover rates can be measured in animals by making their cells radioactive. Frisen realized that nuclear weapons increased levels of radioactive carbon-14 during above-ground testing until 1963. Therefore, the carbon-14 should be incorporated into the cells’ DNA forever.

Because the isotope’s levels fall every year, the amount of carbon-14 in the DNA can indicate the cell’s birth date. Frisen used this new method to successfully assess the turnover rate of heart muscle cells.

Source: The New York Times

Poor brushing may cause heart attacks

Oelisoa Andriankaja and colleagues at the University at Buffalo in New York tested 386 people who had suffered heart attacks and 840 people without heart troubles, and showed that two types of bacteria, Tannerella forsynthesis and Prevotella intermedia, were more common among the heart attack patients.
This recent study aimed at searching for evidence linking oral hygiene with overall health (especially heart attacks). Andriankaja’s team also discovered that people who had the most bacteria in their mouths were most likely to have heart attacks.

Doctors believe that bacteria in the mouth that causes gum disease could set off an inflammation that causes a blood clot in the heart, thereby leading to a heart attack.

Source: Reuters

Drug decreases blood clot risk

A study recently led by Paul Ridker of Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston shows that people who take statin drugs to lower cholesterol (such as Crestor, Litipor, and Zocor) can also cut the risk of developing dangerous blood clots that lodge in the legs or lungs. In the study, Crestor cut almost in half the risk of blood clots in those people with low cholesterol but high chances of inflammation.

A high sensitivity C-reactive protein CRP is used to measure inflammation­ — a common cause of clogged arteries.

Source: Associated Press

Stem cells could aid deaf patients

Researchers at the University of Sheffield in the UK successfully created cells that behave like sensory hair cells or auditory nerves from stem cells.
This discovery could help deaf patients regain the ability to hear. Although tests have only been conducted on animals, this new find has the potential to someday be offered to humans.

Laboratory studies showed that new cells derived from fetal tissue functioned like normal ones in developing ears. This research shows promise of opening up possibilities to restore hearing in the future.

Source: Reuters