Creation of Mini-Organs Follows Mini-Brains; Teeny Frankensteins Unlikely

To go along with mini thinking brain balls grown in lab, researchers have built functional, tiny organs as well—inching closer to the possibility of stitching together teeny-weeny Frankenstein monsters.

Source: Creation of mini-organs follows mini-brains; teeny Frankensteins unlikely

Some day in the future, we may have little nanobots in our blood that can regenerate our damaged organs and tissue.

Fear Can Actually Curdle Your Blood

The next time someone refers to a horror movie as “bloodcurdling,” they might actually be kinda right. A new study shows that the fear experienced when watching scary movies is in fact associated with an increase in clotting agents in the blood.

Source: Fear Can Actually Curdle Your Blood

The fear response includes a big squirt of epinephrine which increases your heart rate and constricts blood vessels so you can run from the bear faster and bleed less when it bites. That your body also dumps clotting factors dovetails with this system nicely. What’s really surprising is that this hadn’t been recognized previously.

But I’d like to see if the findings stand up in a larger sample size.

Mutations That Change Your Heart and Your Brain

Thirteen percent of newborns with congenital heart disease (CHD) also have congenital abnormalities that don’t affect the heart. This is twice the rate at which they appear in newborns without heart problems. Infants with CHD are also at an increased risk of neurodevelopmental disorders later in life, like motor, social, language, and cognitive impairments.

These elevated risks were thought to be caused by poor circulation during gestation or the stresses imposed by postnatal therapies. But a new study suggests that both types of abnormality are actually due to mutations in genes highly expressed in the developing heart and brain. Results are published in Science.

Source: Mutations that change your heart and your brain

Interventions in early development often require referral during the first three years, but due to variability in early development, a child may effectively “fly under the radar” because they are mildly delayed, but showing just enough progress to be deferred until later. Many pediatricians may not make an early referral for these reasons and the child may show up for a first developmental evaluation (specialist) around age 4 or 5 years. By this point a lot of opportunity has been missed and other skills (e.g., social skills) may begin to lag behind due to increased frustration and aggression (and lots of disciplinary incidents).

This knowledge may help flag a child as being at greater risk and result in earlier pediatrician referrals, thus catching the problem earlier.

There’s No Such Thing as “Enough” Exercise for Heart Health

If you’re among of the millions of Americans who dutifully carve out 30 minutes a day for the moderate-intensity exercise recommended by experts based on the idea that you’re doing all you can for your heart, you’re in for some disappointing news.

A new analysis published Monday in the journal Circulation finds that that amount of activity may not be good enough.

Source: New study says 30 minutes of exercise a day is not enough. You should double or quadruple that.

Let the guilt trip begin! 🙂

With family, work and such – it’s really hard to get much exercise in.  But it’s worth it.

Heart Risk? Marathoners Have Increased Artery Plaque

Who do you think would have more artery clogging in the heart: (A) a group of sedentary, overweight men; or (B) a group of men who are slightly older, much leaner, and have run at least one marathon annually for 25 years?

Source: Heart Risk? Marathoners Have Increased Artery Plaque

The sample size isn’t terribly large, and while the study says they couldn’t pinpoint why the plaque was happening.  But from numerous people I’ve spoken to, there’s a percentage who run marathons/etc but eat poorly.  Those that eat poorly, due so because they are looking to consumer lots of calories, salt, or just “reward” themselves with nutritionally poor food.

People Once Believed the Arteries And Heart Were Filled With Air

It’s not?!

Almost everything we consider common knowledge today was once a total mystery. Around the second century AD, no one in the western world knew that the arteries, veins, and heart were filled with blood. Most thought they were filled with air. Here’s how one man disproved that theory.

Source: People Once Believed the Arteries And Heart Were Filled With Air

It is my understanding that the word “artery” is derived from the Greek word for windpipe, “arteria”; so we are kind of holding on to the misconception.

One of my favourite stories about how digestion functions was learnt during a war (Napoleonic?).  Anyone could be a doctor in those days, and lots learnt from sowing up soldiers…  One soldier sustained a wound to the tummy, allowing a doctor to feed the soldier directly.  But I don’t think the soldier made it 😉

A High-Protein Diet May Help Lower Blood Pressure

A new study has found that eating high-levels of certain proteins found in meat and plant-based foods can lower blood pressure and arterial stiffness leading to better heart health. According to researchers from the University of East Anglia (UEA), eating foods rich in amino acids, the building blocks of proteins, could be good for your heart.

Source: Load Up! A High-Protein Diet May Help Lower Blood Pressure

The nice part is the next paragraph details that protein can be sourced from various places, not just meat.  There’s a very good reason to not source protein from red meat: Study: Large Red Meat Consumption Triggers Immune Response, Leading to Cancer.  Also, a good article on the 1 lb to 1 gram of protein myth with relation to exercise.

This Stretchy Cloth Could Become Underwear that Monitors Your Heart Rate

Here’s new tech that’ll make wearables as non-invasive as a Band-Aid. Japanese researchers have created a printable conducive ink on cloth, which means your boxer briefs or sports bra could one day track your heart rate (among other things).

Source: This Stretchy Cloth Could Become Underwear that Monitors Your Heart Rate

The goal there is to swipe, pinch, tap, and drag your fingers across these smart threads to answer calls or turn off lights, just like you would on a mousepad or smartphone.

I don’t think they’ve thought this through… 😉

I, for one, cannot wait to see the hilarity ensue due to accidental touches. Better than autocorrect, I expect.

Could a Dead Heart Save Your Life?

In October 2014, multiple headlines reported that a heart had stopped beating and been revived, before being transplanted into a living recipient. Scientists in Australia told the story of how they had transplanted the ‘dead’ heart. Could this be the answer to the shortage of donor hearts? Oscar Howard ‘Bud’ Frazier and his colleague Dr William ‘Billy’ Cohn of the Texas Heart Institute don’t think so.

Source: Could a Dead Heart Save Your Life?

I wish the article gave more information about the three minute window for a heart transplant.  There’s mention of packing organs in ice, but why not just ship the entire body?  The idea isn’t without its complications, but when such are the constraints of medicine currently – what choice is there?

The Thrilling Tale Of The Very First Heart Surgery

In 1893, as far as the world was concerned, surgery on the heart was unheard of and a stab in the heart was nearly always fatal. Today, eighty percent of people who have been stabbed in the heart wind up surviving. Here’s the story of how one doctor started the process of changing the odds.

Source: The Thrilling Tale Of The Very First Heart Surgery

I’d like to take a moment to encourage readers to not get stabbed in the heart. Also don’t stab anyone else in the heart… unless you have a way of cleaning up the evidence and a rock solid alibi. And I mean solid, people. Your mother will do – they won’t believe her.

Bonus round: Read about Werner Forssmann, who proved that you could run a catheter to the heart.  Most people thought this would be fatal, such that he had to tie a nurse a the table so she couldn’t stop him.  He did it to himself before walking down to X-ray, ultimately proving he’d done it.