New ‘microneedle patch’ could help heart attack patients regrow tissue
The bold technique involves surgically implanting a so-called microneedle patch directly onto the heart.
- Heart attacks leave scar tissue on the heart, which can reduce the organ's ability to pump blood throughout the body.
- The microneedle patch aims to deliver therapeutic cells directly to the damaged tissue.
- It hasn't been tested on humans yet, but the method has shown promising signs in research on animals.
A new 'microneedle patch' could someday help people regain healthy heart muscle tissue after suffering a heart attack.
Scientists aim to surgically implant a patch made of plastic and microscopic needles directly onto the heart where it will deliver therapeutic cells to help the organ regenerate healthy tissue. The microneedles establish channels of communication between the therapeutic cells and the heart tissue, and early research on animals suggests the technique is more effective at delivering regenerative cells to the heart than others methods currently known to scientists.
It's a bold idea that, if successful, could extend the lifespans and well-being of heart attack survivors.
A heart attack damages the muscle tissue of the heart. The injury usually heals within a few weeks, but the healing process replaces once-healthy muscle tissue with scar tissue, which isn't as effective at pumping blood and oxygen to the heart and throughout the body. This reduced efficacy can cause heart failure, a life-threatening condition where the heart isn't able to supply the body's cells with enough blood.
To improve cardiac health, scientists have been searching for ways to perform cell-based heart regeneration, which involves delivering cardiac stromal cells to the heart in order to repair damaged tissue. In a research paper from November, the scientists behind the microneedle patch write that the common techniques used to deliver stromal cells to the heart aren't very effective; cells either get washed away or delivered too slowly.
The new, more direct method could solve those problems. Preliminary research has shown it to be effective in promoting tissue regeneration in rats and pigs, but it's still too early to tell whether it will be effective in humans. It's also unclear how such a device might affect the heart's regular activities.In the U.S., more than 735,000 people suffer from heart attacks every year. A 2016 study found that nearly 25 percent of heart attack survivors went on to develop heart failure within four years of the attack.
Swipe right to make the connections that could change your career.
Swipe right. Match. Meet over coffee or set up a call.
No, we aren't talking about Tinder. Introducing Shapr, a free app that helps people with synergistic professional goals and skill sets easily meet and collaborate.
For Damien Echols, tattoos are part of his existential armor.
- In prison Damien Echols was known by his number SK931, not his name, and had his hair sheared off. Stripped of his identity, the only thing he had left was his skin.
- This is why he began tattooing things that are meaningful to him — to carry a "suit of armor" made up the images of the people and things that have significance to him, from his friends to talismans.
- Echols believes that all places are imbued with divinity: "If you interact with New York City as if there's an intelligence behind... then it will behave towards you the same way.".
She met mere mortals with and without the Vatican's approval.
- For centuries, the Virgin Mary has appeared to the faithful, requesting devotion and promising comfort.
- These maps show the geography of Marian apparitions – the handful approved by the Vatican, and many others.
- Historically, Europe is where most apparitions have been reported, but the U.S. is pretty fertile ground too.
Even some teachers suffer from anxiety about math.
I teach people how to teach math, and I've been working in this field for 30 years. Across those decades, I've met many people who suffer from varying degrees of math trauma – a form of debilitating mental shutdown when it comes to doing mathematics.
SMARTER FASTER trademarks owned by The Big Think, Inc. All rights reserved.