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Biological Pacemaker Keeps A Beat Without The Hardware, Cedars-Sinai Heart Institute Study


7/17/2014 7:01:37 AM

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Is it time to ditch the hardware? Adult heart cells can be trained to act like electronic pacemakers with a little genetic encouragement, says a team that has achieved the feat in pigs. In healthy hearts, a few thousand naturally occurring pacemaker cells are responsible for controlling the electrical signal that initiates each heartbeat and maintains a regular heart rate. In a condition known as heart block, which can be caused by overly vigorous exercise and some medicines, this signal is disrupted. Heart block can occur as early on as during fetal development and results in abnormal heart rhythms, causing anything from wooziness to full-on cardiac arrest.

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