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Heart Disease

A Way to the Heart with Polymers

Inspire, innovate, and invent. Dr. Kathryn Uhrich, a researcher from Rutgers University does just that through her groundbreaking work with polymers, including a novel polymer-based cardiac stent. Coronary stents offer an essential treatment for deadly coronary artery disease (CAD), the leading cause of death in America. This new stent may help the millions of people living with CAD.

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Snake Oil: From Quack Medicine to Cure for Cardiac Disease

After the Burmese python gorges on massive quantities of food, its metabolism increases by about 40% and its organs enlarge: its gastrointestinal tract doubles in size, and its heart cells swell by about 40%. No new tissue is generated -- the cells grow in a process called hypertrophy. The enlarged heart of the python is not unlike that of the human athlete, heavily muscled and extremely capable. Despite ingesting immense volumes of fat, the heart of the Burmese python never seems to suffer from plaque buildup.

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“Fishing” for Clues to the Cause of CHD

The zebrafish model is crucial to gene discovery, allowing scientists to uncover important clues about the function of candidate genes. Because they reproduce rapidly and have very high reproduction rates, researchers have access to multiple generations and a large number of fish. Additionally, exceptional tools exist for genetic manipulation of zebrafish, making them ideal for developing gene therapies and holds much hope for future CHD research.

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Happy Ending to a Grizzly Tale

Researchers at Washington State University are studying grizzly bears raised in captivity to figure out how the bears’ hearts undergo such dramatic and helpful changes during hibernation. Understanding how the physical and chemical changes occur that allow grizzly bears to avoid blood clots and ruptured arteries could lead to breakthroughs in long awaited treatment for human heart disease.

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