Posts tagged with "heartbeat"

Damaged Hearts rewired

Thin, flexible fibers made of carbon nanotubes  have now proven able to bridge damaged heart tissues and deliver the electrical signals needed to keep those hearts beating.

At Texas Heart Institute (THI) report they have used biocompatible fibers invented at Rice University in studies that showed sewing them directly into damaged tissue can restore electrical function to hearts.

“Instead of shocking and defibrillating, we are actually correcting diseased conduction of the largest major pumping chamber of the heart by creating a bridge to bypass and conduct over a scarred area of a damaged heart,” said Dr. Mehdi Razavi, a cardiologist and director of Electrophysiology Clinical Research and Innovations at THI, who co-led the study with Rice chemical and biomolecular engineer Matteo Pasquali.

“Today there is no technology that treats the underlying cause of the No. 1 cause of sudden death, ventricular arrhythmias,” Razavi said. “These arrhythmias are caused by the disorganized firing of impulses from the heart’s lower chambers and are challenging to treat in patients after a heart attack or with scarred heart tissue due to such other conditions as congestive heart failure or dilated cardiomyopathy.”

Results of the studies on preclinical models appear as an open-access Editor’s Pick in the American Heart Association’s Circulation: Arrhythmia and Electrophysiology. The association helped fund the research with a 2015 grant. The research springs from the pioneering 2013 invention by Pasquali’s lab of a method to make conductive fibers out of carbon nanotubes. The lab’s first threadlike fibers were a quarter of the width of a human hair, but contained tens of millions of microscopic nanotubes. The fibers are also being studied for electrical interfaces with the brain, for use in cochlear implants, as flexible antennas and for automotive and aerospace applications.

The experiments showed the nontoxic, polymer-coated fibers, with their ends stripped to serve as electrodes, were effective in restoring function during monthlong tests in large preclinical models as well as rodents, whether the initial conduction was slowed, severed or blocked, according to the researchers. The fibers served their purpose with or without the presence of a pacemaker, they found.

In the rodents, they wrote, conduction disappeared when the fibers were removed. “The reestablishment of cardiac conduction with carbon nanotube fibers has the potential to revolutionize therapy for cardiac electrical disturbances, one of the most common causes of death in the United States,” said co-lead author Mark McCauley, who carried out many of the experiments as a postdoctoral fellow at THI. He is now an assistant professor of clinical medicine at the University of Illinois College of Medicine.

“Our experiments provided the first scientific support for using a synthetic material-based treatment rather than a drug to treat the leading cause of sudden death in the U.S. and many developing countries around the world,” Razavi added. Many questions remain before the procedure can move toward human testing, Pasquali said. The researchers must establish a way to sew the fibers in place using a minimally invasive catheter, and make sure the fibers are strong and flexible enough to serve a constantly beating heart over the long term. He said they must also determine how long and wide fibers should be, precisely how much electricity they need to carry and how they would perform in the growing hearts of young patients.

“Flexibility is important because the heart is continuously pulsating and moving, so anything that’s attached to the heart’s surface is going to be deformed and flexed,” said Pasquali, who has appointments at Rice’s Brown School of Engineering and Wiess School of Natural Sciences.

“Good interfacial contact is also critical to pick up and deliver the electrical signal,” he said. “In the past, multiple materials had to be combined to attain both electrical conductivity and effective contacts. These fibers have both properties built in by design, which greatly simplifies device construction and lowers risks of long-term failure due to delamination of multiple layers or coatings.” Razavi noted that while there are many effective antiarrhythmic drugs available, they are often contraindicated in patients after a heart attack. “What is really needed therapeutically is to increase conduction,” he said. “Carbon nanotube fibers have the conductive properties of metal but are flexible enough to allow us to navigate and deliver energy to a very specific area of a delicate, damaged heart.” Rice alumna Flavia Vitale, now an assistant professor of neurology and of physical medicine and rehabilitation at the University of Pennsylvania, and Stephen Yan, a graduate student at Rice, are co-lead authors of the paper.

Co-authors are Colin Young and Julia Coco of Rice; Brian Greet of THI and Baylor St. Luke’s Medical Center; Marco Orecchioni and Lucia Delogu of the Città della Speranza Pediatric Research Institute, Padua, Italy; Abdelmotagaly Elgalad, Mathews John, Doris Taylor and Luiz Sampaio, all of THI; and Srikanth Perike of the University of Illinois at Chicago. Pasquali is the A.J. Hartsook Professor of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering, a professor of materials science and nanoengineering and of chemistry.

The American Heart Association, the Welch Foundation, the Air Force. Office of Scientific Research, the National Institutes of Health and Louis Magne supported the research.

Credit James Philpot/Texas Heart Institute

Looking for Love

Important Qualities to Consider when Looking for Love :
We all want to be able to settle down with someone special one day but finding the perfect partner is not always easy. While there are plenty of resources to help you find love these days, such as online dating sites, you have to be sure that the person you choose has the right qualities. It is not all about appearance, which is something that you need to remember when you are looking for that special someone.

 
While you do not have to go over the top and start carrying out a background check online every time you find someone you like, there are certain qualities that you should look for. This will make it far easier to find someone that you will not only be attracted to physically but will also enjoy the company of. Relationships that are based purely on physical attraction are far less likely to succeed in the long run compared to those that are meaningful on a deeper levels.

 
What else you need to look for :
Of course, physical attraction is important in a relationship. However, you should remember that it is you that must feel attracted to the person not your friends and family. So, don’t worry if your friends don’t like the look of the person you are interested in – as long as you have that attraction there, that’s all that matters.

 
One thing you should look for when you are looking for love is someone that has a good sense of humor. Unless you want your life to be deadly serious all the time, it is important that you find someone you can have a laugh and a joke with. Finding a partner with a similar sense of humor as you can be really beneficial because it means that you are likely to have a lot in common from the types of movies you like to the types of activities you enjoy.

 
Another important quality that you need to look at is just how much the person has in common with you. Of course, they do not have to like every little thing that you like. However, having some similar interests is important because it means that you will be able to do far more together when it comes to your free time. If you enjoy things such as walking, cycling, and hiking, finding a partner that prefers to be slumped in front of the TV in all their spare time could make things difficult when it comes to spending quality time together.

 
One more thing that many people look for is someone that can provide some essence of security and stability. This doesn’t refer to how much money they earn or what assets they have. It means finding someone that you can wholly trust and someone that wants to work toward the same life goals as you. This will enable you both to work toward a common goal such as eventually settling down and starting a family.