Alcohol may ease the nerves that cause atrial fibrillation
About 1 in 12 Americans over age 80 has atrial fibrillation, a kind of heart arrhythmia. Surgeons and cardiologists have come a long way, honestly, in treating the disorder, which weakens heart flow and significantly increases the chances of ischemia, as well as blood clot-caused strokes. Doctors have even figured out how to fix atrial fibrillation (also called a fib or a-fib) intravenously, via catheter.
The typical treatment now is to burn areas cardiac nerve clusters that are known to be part of the electrical cascade that causes a-fib. Sounds sort of dangerous, but it was the big breakthrough about 10 years ago.
Problem, though, is that this does not seem to be a permanent solution for a lot of people. The nerves somehow repair, or else nearby pathways are recruited for mayhem… and the a-fib returns.
A new technique involves doing all that burning stuff, but ALSO injecting 98% ethanol into a nerve cluster near one of the major cardiopulmonary veins. Electrophysiological measurements at the site (what CAN’T they do through catherers these days?) shows this might be a more permanent solution for a-fib patients.
Power And Syred/Science Photo Library
… “We could obtain information about a person’s ethnicity simply by looking in his ears,” chemist Katharine Prokop-Prigge said. Prokop-Prigge is one of the researchers at the Monell Chemical Senses Center in Philadelphia who measured the earwax smells. The team was inspired to see if ethnic groups have different earwax odors after learning that the same gene controls both a person’s underarm odor and the type of earwax they make…
It’s no mere coincidence Charles Darwin’s birthday and Valentine’s Day are so close together. Oh, hold on. Yes, it is mere coincidence.
New live-cell printing technology works like ancient Chinese woodblocking
With a nod to 3rd century Chinese woodblock printing and children’s rubber stamp toys, researchers in Houston have developed a way to print living cells onto any surface, in virtually any shape. Unlike recent, similar work using inkjet printing approaches, almost all cells survive the process, scientists report in this week’s Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
The researchers, led by Houston Methodist Research Institute nanomedicine faculty member Lidong Qin, Ph.D., say their approach produces 2-D cell arrays in as little as half an hour, prints the cells as close together as 5 micrometers (most animal cells are 10 to 30 micrometers wide), and allows the use of many different cell types. They’ve named the technology Block-Cell-Printing, or BloC-Printing.
"We feel the current technologies are inadequate," Qin said. "Inkjet-based cell printing leaves many of the cells damaged or dead. We wanted to see if we could invent a tool that helps researchers obtain arrays of cells that are alive and still have full activity."