New research could help heal broken hearts

After surviving a heart attack, it's basically impossible for your heart muscle to get back to its previous shape. Or so we thought! A new study, done by researchers at Cedars Sinai Heart institute and John Hopkins University, found that stem cells from a patient's own cardiac tissue can actually help repair most of the damage.

Sounds crazy, right? But, scientists found that in a trial of 25 heart-attack patients, the 17 who got stem cell treatment showed significantly less scarring after six months and an astonishing 50 percent reduction in scar size after one year. The other eight patients, who didn't receive treatment, showed no scarring reduction or improvement.  These results, originally published in the journal Lancet, suggest that new tissue regenerated by the stem cells can not only strengthen a heart, but also possibly delay failure after a heart attack.

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Though the research is still in its early stages, researchers are optimistic about its implications and hope to begin an extended clinical trial soon.  

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Despite that stem cell research has been the subject of many heated debates, I personally have always been an avid supporter of it. Previous studies have shown significant medical potential for stem cell treatments, which have been known to help repair bones and other organs, as well as possibly cure several diseases, like cancer and Parkinson's. And now this? The possibilities are endless!

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Heart failure is the number one cause of death in both women and men. The fact that we might be on the brink of a treatment that could change that is amazing and mind-boggling. After all, who doesn't want to help mend the world's broken hearts?  

What do you think about this research? Do you think stem cell treatments are helpful or harmful?

Images via pennstatelive, wellcome images/flickr

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