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A Pacemaker Made From Your Own Cells

ScuttleMonkey posted more than 8 years ago | from the shocking-discoveries dept.

54

FiReaNGeL writes to tell us that researchers at the Children's Hospital in Boston are on the road to crafting a pacemaker from living cells instead of an artificial implant. From the article: "When the engineered tissue was implanted into rats, between the right atrium and right ventricle, the implanted cells integrated with the surrounding heart tissue and electrically coupled to neighboring heart cells. Optical mapping of the heart showed that in nearly a third of the hearts, the engineered tissue had established an electrical conduction pathway, which disappeared when the implants were destroyed. The implants remained functional through the animals' lifespan (about 3 years)."

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before my time (-1)

Umbral Blot (737704) | more than 8 years ago | (#15560318)

I guess I'm ahead of the game here, since I seem to already have one. (It's called my heart)

Re:before my time (-1, Offtopic)

Umbral Blot (737704) | more than 8 years ago | (#15560508)

Modded down to -1 as "overrated". Hilarious. How is 0 overrated?

Re:before my time (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15560559)

actually I'd say -1 is still over rated.. that's one of the worst comments i've ever read, you should be ashamed of yourself

Re:before my time (-1, Offtopic)

Umbral Blot (737704) | more than 8 years ago | (#15560567)

worse than "first post!" ? I might also point you to this post [slashdot.org] which says basically the same thing, but has a 3. (oh and it contains a wikipedia link, ooh so hard to google for)

This is awesome (5, Informative)

Beached (52204) | more than 8 years ago | (#15560321)

This will be a great help to those with actual pacemakers if they can use this. Currently if you have a pacemaker, diagnostic equipment like MRI are not available as the magnettic forces can move the wires and cause other weird things to happen.

Re:This is awesome (1)

Solra Bizna (716281) | more than 8 years ago | (#15560341)

diagnostic equipment like MRI ... can move the wires and cause other weird things to happen.

More like rip the implant out of the body!

-:sigma.SB

Re:This is awesome (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15560401)

Thank you, Captain Obvious! Trying hard for first post with those oh-so-insightful comments. Move wires, other weird things... oh my!
 

Re:This is awesome (4, Interesting)

mgv (198488) | more than 8 years ago | (#15560665)

This will be a great help to those with actual pacemakers if they can use this. Currently if you have a pacemaker, diagnostic equipment like MRI are not available as the magnettic forces can move the wires and cause other weird things to happen.

There are alot of reasons that this won't help as many people as you might think.

Mostly this is because pacemakers are now being used to do things which natural heart muscle cannot do anyway.

These technologies include:

Defibrillating (ie electric shock) a heart if it arrests.
Short bursts of fast pacing for hearts in certain fast rhythms.
Coordinated depolarisation of different parts of enlarged hearts to make all the walls of the heart contract at once. When hearts get injured they often get bigger, and biological conduction systems conduct too slowly for a large heart so the cardiac effort is wasted more as the heart gets bigger, making a bad system worse.

So, if your heart is otherwise normal and you just have a conduction problem, great - this might help.

On the other hand, hearts that need pacing usually aren't normal in lots of other ways, and in these areas just putting a small bit of "normal" tissue in won't give as much benefit as a pacemaker.

Michael

Re:This is awesome (0, Flamebait)

mykhailjw (910121) | more than 8 years ago | (#15560860)

YOU CAN HAVE A MRI AS LONG AS YOUR CARDIOLOGIST IS NOT A DUMB ASS. Quit spreading this lie. I work for a Cardiac electrophysiologist and we do these every week. Yes there are some risks and the patient needs to be monitored but it can be done and it is safe.

Re:This is awesome (4, Informative)

mgv (198488) | more than 8 years ago | (#15561032)

YOU CAN HAVE A MRI AS LONG AS YOUR CARDIOLOGIST IS NOT A DUMB ASS. Quit spreading this lie. I work for a Cardiac electrophysiologist and we do these every week. Yes there are some risks and the patient needs to be monitored but it can be done and it is safe.

I find this statement rather strange. I am fairly familiar with MRI - I have worked in MRI scanners regularly for a few years now and everyone down there is fairly aware of just what it means to have a couple of Tesla's of magnetic field strength means (Most are between 0.5 to about 3 Tesla's in strength). It will take a pen and accelerate it up enough to pull it through the donut and either stick to the wall of the magnet or fling it across the room. And the only metal bit in the pen is maybe the nib and the little spring that makes the pen click up an down.

Specifically, we don't let people with all sorts of metal in them go into the scanner. Pacemakers, aneurysm clips in their brains, and so on.

The risks of this to the if you go into a MRI with these sorts of things include:
1. Heating effects. The field is pulsing in enough energy to push alot of electrons into high spin orbitals and then read the energy as they relax (or so I understand - I'm no physicist). This is bad enough when you are just in the scanner for a while ( you can come out a little hot and sweaty in the more powerful magnets), but any coiling of wires (eg the non ferrous conducting carbon leads that we use to read the ECG/EKG) leads to a real risk of alot of heating. This would occur inside a person just as easily as outside.

2. Electrical effects. If you have a pacing wire inside you and you put it in a strong and changing magnetic field you will generate electrical currents. If this is on a pacing lead then they have a direct outlet onto your heart. This would not be a good thing.

3. Interference - pacing boxes would interfere strongly with any imaging near to them, so if they were near to the heart (which they usually are!) then it would be quite hard to image the heart.

4. Movement - a small pacing box probably wouldn't be enough to cause someone to stick to the walls of the magnet. Or then again, it might. I don't know, I've never tried. But it would certainly pull. this might not be good for the bits that screw into the wall of your heart.

All in all, while it is possible that I am the ignorant one here, I am very sceptical that any MRI unit would let someone with a pacemaker anywhere near the magnet. I know for a fact that nobody in our institution with a pacemaker gets anywhere near the magnet - patient or staff.

Would you care to name the institution that lets people with real pacemakers go into MRI units? I think some people might be quite interested in this..

Michael

Re:This is awesome (3, Interesting)

mykhailjw (910121) | more than 8 years ago | (#15561166)

Oklahoma Heart Institute, Tulsa, OK - Dr. James A. Coman. Let me clearify (sorry a little irritated this morning). These tests can be done safely, but they need to be done with proper care. You need someone that can check the device (either pacemaker or defibrillator) for battery life and overall functionality. Not every doctor should do this but they should at least know enough to send their patients to someone that can and will. If your cardiologist says flat out that it can't be done then maybe it is time to find one that is a little more current on their stuff.

Re:This is awesome (1)

mgv (198488) | more than 8 years ago | (#15561193)

These tests can be done safely, but they need to be done with proper care. You need someone that can check the device (either pacemaker or defibrillator) for battery life and overall functionality. Not every doctor should do this but they should at least know enough to send their patients to someone that can and will. If your cardiologist says flat out that it can't be done then maybe it is time to find one that is a little more current on their stuff.

Interesting. What sort of MRI are you doing with people with pacemakers? Cardiac MRI? I'm stunned if you can get anything decent image wise if you have a wire in the middle of your field....

By the way, the MRI I work in isn't really that much of a cardiac MRI, although we do some. I'd still be pretty darn worried before putting anyone with that much metal in them near the magnet. If you saw the efforts we go to to pull all the electricals out of the fields - fibre optic oximetry, carbon fibre ECG leads, etc. You would know why I'm stunned that you can put a pacemaker anywhere near the magnet.

Michael

Re:This is awesome (2, Informative)

mykhailjw (910121) | more than 8 years ago | (#15561310)

Most MRI's that we do are on referral because they don't want to take on that risk and understandably. There are neurologists that ask for them, cardiologists, and even some endocrinologists that will need these tests but recognizing the risks or not wanting to potentially cause problems with the device they refer on to us. The biggest threat is not the device shooting out or the leads (because they are non-ferrous and thus not susceptible to magnetic fields) but rather programming problems or the more common battery drainage.

Re:This is awesome (1)

mgv (198488) | more than 8 years ago | (#15561633)

Thanks for this - I just learned a little tonight possibly.

Michael

Re:This is awesome (1)

dgatwood (11270) | more than 8 years ago | (#15562759)

Indeed. There are plenty of metals that are good conductors that aren't affected significantly by magnetic fiedls---gold, silver.... Of course, I would note that even in non-ferrous metals, magnetic fields induces current (which probably explains the programming problems).

BTW, if the magnetic field were strong enough to suck a metal box through the walls of your chest, I'd hate to think what it would do to your blood cells. :-D

Re:This is awesome (1)

SmittyTheBold (14066) | more than 8 years ago | (#15566074)

The iron in blood cells is non-magnetic.

Think about how elemental iron will be attracted to a magnet, but rust is not. It's a similar situation.

New Band Idea! (4, Funny)

Nefarious Wheel (628136) | more than 8 years ago | (#15560327)

Cool -- now I can play rock & roll on stage without interference from the amplifier stacks. I can plot my rise to stardom right away!

How about -- "Geriatric and the Pacemakers"?

Re:New Band Idea! (5, Funny)

Ardeocalidus (947463) | more than 8 years ago | (#15560422)

We have them... They're called the "Rolling Stones".

Re:New Band Idea! (1)

bsartist (550317) | more than 8 years ago | (#15560743)

Since they're from Boston, you'll get that great guitar sound too!

Modification? (1)

headkase (533448) | more than 8 years ago | (#15560335)

I can't wait to have my brain transplanted to my custom body (you know, the one for living underwater).
Of course any theraputic program like this will be first used to fix damaged tissue, but give it thirty to fifty years and see what it grows into (without saying whether it's good or bad).

Lots of advantages (4, Interesting)

phorm (591458) | more than 8 years ago | (#15560339)

I can think of lots of advantages with this, in hearts the big ones would be the lack of issues that ye ol' metallic pacemakers possibly have with strong electrical fields, really big magnets, etc.

And in other fields, if we can do this as an "add-on" for hearts, we could probably further the study and production of organic structures that would assist (or replace) other organs, without the nasty issues of rejection etc.

Heck, it might even be useful for guys with major impotency problems, perhaps a little section of implanted cells that sends a "wake up" signal... that's science that would likely sell, giving funding for further research into other more crtical (life saving) uses.

Re:Lots of advantages (4, Insightful)

I_Love_Pocky! (751171) | more than 8 years ago | (#15560411)

While I agree that this is promising technology, it seems as though it could only replace a traditional pacemaker in the case of AV node block (which is only one of the many heart problems that traditional pacemaker devices can treat).

Essentially this technology would create an artificial bridge from the atrium to the ventricle, replacing the AV node. The AV node creates a delay between the signal propagation in the atrium to the ventricle which causes them to beat separately (the lub-lub sound you hear from your heart is atrium contracting, followed by ventricle). If this artificial replacement was not able to delay the signal properly it could lead to erratic heart rhythms (like the ventricle pumping at the same time as the atrium, which would severely diminish heart output).

I wish the scientists and doctors working on this project the best of luck. Hopefully if they can grow conductive tissue, they could also use it to repair dead tissue found in hearts that have suffered from a heart attack.

Re:Lots of advantages (4, Interesting)

Cicero382 (913621) | more than 8 years ago | (#15560634)

"While I agree that this is promising technology, it seems as though it could only replace a traditional pacemaker in the case of AV node block (which is only one of the many heart problems that traditional pacemaker devices can treat)."

True. Reading from a (semi) professional point of view I was more excited about the use of myoblasts to construct the framework rather than its application per se. Though the change in function is pretty neat - essentially an artificial AV node! I was also happy to see a lack of the hype that often comes with this sort of announcement (FTFA "preliminary steps")

"I wish the scientists and doctors working on this project the best of luck. Hopefully if they can grow conductive tissue, they could also use it to repair dead tissue found in hearts that have suffered from a heart attack."

Sorry, not this way. This technique is really only for the generation of conductive tissue - not the heart muscle itself which is very different from skeletal muscle. Stem cells, anyone?

Re:Lots of advantages (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15560685)

While you are correct in all other things, the sounds are not from the atria/ventricles contracting. The sound is produced when the heart valves close (first sound is Tricuspid/Bicuspid valves, second sound is aorta/pulmonalis valves). Of course, it is the contraction that leads to the valves closing.

Re:Lots of advantages (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15560548)

And in other fields, if we can do this as an "add-on" for hearts, we could probably further the study and production of organic structures that would assist (or replace) other organs, without the nasty issues of rejection etc.

Indeed, this entire field of medicine is moving much faster than anyone could have imagined. Larry Niven, for example, wrote science fiction stories (like the Three Books of Known Space [amazon.com] ) where organ donation was all the rage three hundred years from now, and only half a millenium from now would we get alloplasty, "gadgets instead of organs", without the issueso of rejection. Now, with all of this research into manipulating cells directly into doing our bidding, it seems that medicine may skip the alloplasty stage entirely.

Maybe Ray Kurzweil was right about all of that "approaching the singularity" hype.

FYI... (4, Informative)

distantbody (852269) | more than 8 years ago | (#15560345)

...We ALL have pacemakers made from our own cells already...literally...See Cardiac pacemaker [wikipedia.org]

Re:FYI... (2, Informative)

Ardeocalidus (947463) | more than 8 years ago | (#15560435)

Umm... Yea... Basic anatomy, for the win. Artificial pacemakers (hint, artificial in the name implies that they are a copy of some organic component) are simply replication our heart's own pacemaker (the "node"), which send electrical signals telling the heart muscles to contract and so forth.

I should know. I have regular heart palpitations. :(

Re:FYI... (1)

Ardeocalidus (947463) | more than 8 years ago | (#15560443)

P.S. I didn't mean to imply that you were wrong. I was simply pointing out that your post was common information. The content of the post, however, is completely correct.

Re:FYI... (-1, Flamebait)

distantbody (852269) | more than 8 years ago | (#15560707)

Umm... Yea... Basic anatomy, for the win. Artificial pacemakers (hint, artificial in the name implies that they are a copy of some organic component) are simply replication our heart's own pacemaker (the "node"), which send electrical signals telling the heart muscles to contract and so forth. I should know. I have regular heart palpitations. :(

P.S. I didn't mean to imply that you were wrong. I was simply pointing out that your post was common information. The content of the post, however, is completely correct.

Hint: suck balls, and may your insolence bring you a slow, painful heart-attack.

Re:FYI... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15560546)

When it gets patented, everybody can pay some nice license fees.

For those too lazy to go through the registration: (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15560379)

Patients with complete heart block or disrupted electrical conduction in their hearts are at risk for life-threatening rhythm disturbances and heart failure. The condition is currently treated by implanting a pacemaker in the patient's chest or abdomen but these devices often fail over time particularly in infants and small children who must undergo many re-operations. Researchers at Children's Hospital Boston have now taken preliminary steps toward using a patient's own cells instead of a pacemaker marking the first time tissue-engineering methods have been used to create electrically conductive tissue for the heart. Results appear in the July issue of the American Journal of Pathology (published online on June 19).

In complete heart block electrical signals cannot pass from the heart's upper chambers (atria) to the lower chambers (ventricles) leading to heart failure. In normal hearts electrical impulses move first through the atria then pause at the atrioventricular (AV) node. Then after a short delay that allows the ventricles to fill with blood the AV node releases the impulses which move through the ventricles causing them to contract. In this way the beats of the atria and ventricles are synchronized.

Investigators led by Douglas Cowan PhD a cell biologist in Children's Department of Anesthesiology Perioperative and Pain Medicine wanted to create a biological substitute for the AV node that would work in patients who have defective atrioventricular conduction. "The idea was that rather than using a pacemaker we could create an electrical conduit to connect the atria and ventricles" Cowan says.
Collagen and myoblasts (precursor cells derived from skeletal muscle) were cast into molds made up of pieces of tubing and polyester mesh (seen at each end). Once it gels the...

Cowan's team including first author Yeong-Hoon Choi in Children's Department of Cardiac Surgery obtained skeletal muscle from rats and isolated muscle precursor cells called myoblasts. They "seeded" the myoblasts onto a flexible scaffolding material made of collagen creating a 3-dimensional bit of living tissue that could be surgically implanted in the heart.

The cells distributed themselves evenly in the tissue and oriented themselves in the same direction. Tested in the laboratory the engineered tissue started beating when stimulated electrically and its muscle cells produced proteins called connexins that channel ions from cell to cell connecting the cells electrically.

When the engineered tissue was implanted into rats between the right atrium and right ventricle the implanted cells integrated with the surrounding heart tissue and electrically coupled to neighboring heart cells. Optical mapping of the heart showed that in nearly a third of the hearts the engineered tissue had established an electrical conduction pathway, which disappeared when the implants were destroyed. The implants remained functional through the animals' lifespan (about 3 years).

"The advantage of using myoblasts is that they can be taken from skeletal muscle rather than the heart itself--which will be important for newborns whose hearts are so tiny they cannot spare any tissue for the biopsy--and that they're resistant to ischemia meaning they can go without a good blood supply for a relatively long period of time" Cowan says.

Cowan and his team are now working with a large-animal model that more closely simulates pediatric heart block. Further studies will seek to create tissue-engineered grafts that behave more like a natural AV node, for example by providing a built-in delay before sending electrical signals to the ventricles. The team is investigating whether other cell types such as stem cells derived from muscle or bone marrow might be made to behave more like AV node cells.

Complete heart block is present in about 1 in 22000 births. It can also result from congenital heart disease through an injury or scar tissue from heart surgery, or as a side effect of medications. In adults, pacemakers are a good solution but in children they carry a greater risk of heart perforation and clot formation. In addition pacemakers only last 3 to 5 years in children and the leads must be replaced frequently requiring many repeat operations. In very small babies the pacemaker leads must be positioned on the heart surface resulting in even greater failure rates.

Cowan envisions a future in which a child with heart block would receive a conventional pacemaker, but also receive an implant of engineered electrically conducting tissue that would grow along with the child. The pacemaker acting as a backup would start functioning only if the biological implant failed prolonging its useful life.

Source: Children's Hospital Boston

Woah... (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15560413)

I totally read that as "A Peacemaker made from your own cells".

And I was like, "WTF? How do you make a missile out of a phone?"

Re:Woah... (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15560568)

Pretend it's a chair?

Re:Woah... (1)

Jesus_666 (702802) | more than 8 years ago | (#15560746)

They're obviously talking about the processor, duh. You know, the PlayStation 2 was powerful to be used as a cruise missile guiding system. With the Cell being so much more powerful than the PS2's Emotion Engine obviously the PS3 will be powerful enough to replace the entire cruise missile.

Re:Woah... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15561189)

Didn't you see that episode in Macgyver? ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Macgyver [wikipedia.org] ).

You can't make a missle out of a phone if that's all you've got, but if can also get your hands on a safety pin, a can of coke, windshield wiper fluid, and a lawnmower, and you have a good enough swiss army knife, you can make a missile that can take out any helicoptor.

Re:Woah... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15579497)

I totally read that as "A Peacemaker made from your own cells".

And I was like, "WTF? How do you make a missile out of a phone?"


The missile you're thinking of is the LGM-118 Peacekeeper ICBM. (It was going to be named the Peacemaker at one point but was changed, IIRC.) The Peacemaker is a .45 caliber M-1873 pistol by Colt.

This has been your useless factoid for the day.

This is only a stepping-stone... (0, Offtopic)

Ardeocalidus (947463) | more than 8 years ago | (#15560419)

I, for one, welcome our organic pace-maker wielding overlords (from Boston).

How is WIELDING a pacemaker going to help them? (1)

BlackCobra43 (596714) | more than 8 years ago | (#15561114)

What, are they going to lightly jolt us into submission? A simple board with a nail in it would be more efective...unless we make them bigger, and bigger....

Umm.... (-1, Redundant)

Firehed (942385) | more than 8 years ago | (#15560437)

Isn't this what we're born with?

CRAP! (3, Funny)

plasmacutter (901737) | more than 8 years ago | (#15560457)

now no excuse to avoid those magnet things in airports.. *hides bomb* ; )

Re:CRAP! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15560931)

Why is this marked funny?

this is just the beginning (5, Funny)

Magdalene (263144) | more than 8 years ago | (#15560545)

im still waiting for the 'modified' version of the olympics, and any other sports in the future i was talking about ages ago, with this, and 'face implants' and artificial hips and everything, its going to be one hell of a show. .. I mean imagine FIFA 2223
.. and its brazil and england tied in the last seconds of the match with one of england's modded forwards down for repairs from that blown calf in the first half they are having a hard time keeping brazils top mod Peleisgod away from their nets and Omigod. with only seconds to go he has blown both of his ankles and is head has completely come away from his body .. . "thats the new mod they just let in for the 2222 practice runs that i was telling you about jorja.. if i may butt in". oh really Raymond? ohmygod seconds to go and his head actually reaches the ball at 30 feet and is it?.... it is!.... GOOOOOOOOOOoooooooooaaaaaaaaaaaaaLLLLLLLLL!!!!!!!! !! BRAZIL HAS WON WITH JUST SECONDS TO GO AND THERE IS THE HORN the fans are going wild with exitement and that is the end of the world cup match for 2223 this year held in new brazil on coming to you live brodcast from the moon we thank all our listeners and sponsers and goodnite ... oh and such a disapointment for england..."

anyway... i digress. you get the idea.

Re:this is just the beginning (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15560604)

First thing: The FIFA World Cup occurs every 4 years, except during a world war. But even then it will still fall where it should have. This means the World Cup would be in 2222 or 2226.

Second: Brazil will definately still be in the World Cup (if it is still called that--perhaps the Solar System Cup or the Galaxy Cup), but it's unlikely that England will be. It will probably be some team from Omicron Persei Seven (The Soccer Planet). Brazil will still probably win. I hear Ronaldo-hino XII is going to be one heck of a soccer player.

Third: It won't be played on the Moon. South America has been itching to host another World Cup and they'll probably finally build enough stadiums by then.

And Fourth: Univision will still be the best channel to watch it on in the States, as the ESPN announcers will still be clueless. This means you will hear "GOL!" yelled 10 times like the beating of a gong (unless you are watching ESPN where they will try to figure out if it was a slam dunk or a home run).

Re:this is just the beginning (1)

Magdalene (263144) | more than 8 years ago | (#15565037)

well, in 2200 they will have devided it into the modded and the non modded fifa, and the modded happens every year before the modded so my original 2223 still stands. ;)
Don't count england out of the game just yet, when the mod's come it will be them and the Korean's, Brazil is only in becase they recieved a lot of tech help from Japan in 2222 Mod try outs.
(Maggie Starts a Fifa war on slashdot)*grin* and besides, i never watch american brodcasts of fifa, only the european multicasts will do. ;)

techgoddess mondays through fridays, enchantress of the enscorselled saturdays by apointment-

Re:this is just the beginning (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15566985)

tough crowd - I laughed.

Re:this is just the beginning (3, Funny)

William Robinson (875390) | more than 8 years ago | (#15560620)

neither FIFA nor Olympic can happen in 2223. /nitpicking

Go, figure out;)

Re:this is just the beginning (3, Insightful)

geoffspear (692508) | more than 8 years ago | (#15560900)

20 years ago, you would have said that the Winter Olympics couldn't occur in 2006. You think your prediction for the dates of sporting events on 2 centuries will be more accurate?

Hmmm.. (1)

William Robinson (875390) | more than 8 years ago | (#15560632)

A Pacemaker Made From Your Own Cells

Aha... They are doing plastic surgery on heart..

Whenever I see the word ventricle (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15560693)

I can't help being reminded of the quote they may say she died of a burst ventricle, but I know she died of a broken heart

Duh (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15560698)

"The implants remained functional through the animals' lifespan"

Kind of obvious, isn't it?

Re:Duh (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15560868)

Makes you wonder what sort of guarantee you get on traditional pacemakers. A lifeime one wouldn't be so comforting, somehow.

Not quite a "pacemaker" (2, Informative)

Ancient_Hacker (751168) | more than 8 years ago | (#15560734)

Ah, this development is a good thing for those that have problems with the "conduction" part of the heart, i.e. the "wires". But in many cases it's not the wires that have gone bad, but the actual signal sources, special cells that generate the 60 millivolt pulses. Or those cells may be fine, but they've lost their connection to the nerves that control the heaart rate.

In all these cases, you need an electrical pacemaker-- adding conductions cells is unlikely to do anything.

"From Your Own Cells" (1)

tfcdesign (667499) | more than 8 years ago | (#15560850)

I thought this was a cellphone hack story!

OMG, not me!?! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15560950)

When I read the headline, I was thinking, "Not the way my phone has been dropping calls." And then I realized that we actually have a biology article here.
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