Science Is Thiiis Close To Growing Human Hearts In A Lab
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Of the more than 4,000 people in the U.S. waiting for a heart transplant, only about 2,500 will get one this year. Even among those lucky few, however, many of the patients' bodies will attack the foreign cells within them and reject the transplant. It's clear that we need a better way, and medical researchers have been hard at work trying to find one. The dream is to figure out a way to grow whole, beating human hearts from a patient's own cells, and in 2016, scientists from Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School got the closest we've ever come to that goal.Related: The "Heart In A Box" Device Is Revolutionizing Transplants
Your Heartbeat Influences Your Emotions
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What happens when you're afraid? The common thought is that your brain recognizes danger, then tells your heart to start pumping faster. Though that's true, it's not always the case. According to neuroscience, sometimes your heart is what tells your brain to fear.
Here's Why You Never Hear About Heart Cancer
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You've heard of brain cancer, lung cancer, breast cancer, prostate cancer...the list goes on. If it exists in the human body, it can get cancer. Why, then, do you never hear about someone getting heart cancer? Heart cancer is rare, but not impossible. It happens so infrequently that the American Cancer Society doesn't even list it as its own cancer in their annual statistics—it's under the umbrella of "soft tissue" cancers, which had 12,310 cases in 2016. Compare that to breast cancer, which reached nearly 300,000 cases. The Mayo Clinic reports seeing only one case of heart cancer per year.
The "Heart In A Box" Device Revolutionizing Transplants
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It's like a scene from a science-fiction movie: a warm, still-beating heart arrives in a box just in the nick of time. Thanks to the company TransMedics, this vision has already become a reality. The company's Organ Care System, also known as the "heart in a box," is a wheeled cart that holds an encased heart that was essentially reanimated from a deceased donor. The cart has an oxygen supply and sterile heart chamber, where the donor heart is fed with blood and nutrients through tubing. In the past, transplant hearts came from healthy-bodied brain-dead donors. But doctors have already successfully transplanted hearts with the "heart in a box" from patients after they've died. According to doctors, this device could increase the number of donated hearts by 15-30%, "saving the lives of people who would otherwise die from heart failure."
A Broken Heart Is More Likely To Suffer A Heart Attack
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The day after the death of a loved one, your risk of heart attack skyrockets to an incredible 21 times higher than normal. And while those chances decrease on day two, for a week after a loved one's death the odds are still about six times what they otherwise would be. And this doesn't take into account the risk of broken heart syndrome, or Takotsubo cardiomyopathy, which is different from a heart attack but can feel similar. Broken heart syndrome is a temporary (and usually non-fatal) weakening in the muscles of the heart that can cause congestive heart failure, usually brought on by grief or stress.Is there something you're curious about? Email us at editors (at) curiosity.com. And follow Curiosity on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.
from Brit Lab
Key Facts to Know
The brain activity and surge of dopamine you experience when in love are similar to the ones you experience when hooked on nicotine or cocaine. 1:05
The brain reacts to rejection and heartbreak in some of the same ways as it does to physical pain. 2:26
Your chances of having a heart attack increase by 6 times during the first week of bereavement. 3:54