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A heart beats to a different drummer
Date:8/15/2010

A video of the embryonic heart pacing, recorded by Jenkins, may be seen at: https://rcpt.yousendit.com/926316489/f2f087c288e36c9246bdd5dd95e145af

How does the laser make the heart beat?

The investigators believe a pulse of infrared light creates a temperature gradient in heart tissue that opens ion channels in a cascade along a heart cell. This effect spurs along an electrical impulse that makes the heart contract.

It's early in the research, "but we think this has exciting implications, especially if we can extend this into the adult heart," said Andrew Rollins, professor of biomedical engineering at Case Western Reserve.

Rollins' lab is now experimenting with adult heart tissue, to determine whether the laser could be used as an implantable pacemaker or to pace an adult heart during surgery or other clinical work.

Watanabe, who specializes in heart development and has studied heart conduction in the developing heart, said the findings could lead to the development of a pacemaker for a child's or baby's heart or even in utero. However, many more studies have to be done to show it would work and be safe. In a young heart, electrodes can cause damage and long term use of traditional pacemakers can lead to heart failure, she said.


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Contact: Kevin Mayhood
kevin.mayhoood@case.edu
216-368-4442
Case Western Reserve University
Source:Eurekalert

Page: 1 2

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