Pacemaker without wires
Sunday, April 12, 2009

By: Ronald Veldhuizen

This week is an important step in the development of natural pacemakers made from living cells. The advantage of such pacemakers is that they require no maintenance.

The conductor of the heart rhythm - the sine - would sometimes effervescent on. There is already a solution: the pacemaker. After a boring operation, the electric rhythm box on the direction. But worry is not. When metal detectors turn the box sometimes hollow. But mobile phones also can paralyze the pacemaker.

A maintenance free solution would be ideal. According to scientists is that a biological pacemaker: of living heart muscle cells. This week is an important step. Richard Robinson of Columbia University in New York, the operation of pacemaker cells extensively studied. Pacemaker cells are cardiac muscle cells that make up a rhythm as the pacemaker can. A stable, the cells may not be real, it seems, but somewhat predictable, it is now.

Cardiac muscle cells, even if they are not in a complete heart are self-determined pace. Through channels that give rhythm to each other - a bowl full of heart muscle cells attracts good rhythm together. The disadvantage is that the rhythm has its ups and downs. Then they go back neatly two times per second, then stop them up, and hup, they speed up again. Unpredictable and not very useful.

Robinson thinks that this anomaly is because there are simply too many channels simultaneously transmit to each other what pace they want. Robinson hopes that when researchers understand precisely how the channels work, they might get under control. So the biologist examine each channel separately. When he learned that a separate channel but with predictable behavior. So time to do the same. Well, about then.

With quite a few calculations and further tests revealed Robinson identify how the channels of the type HCN2 and HCN212 each heart rate spread, and how they are received.

Armed with this knowledge, researchers next step: a growing heart cells draw together in a healthy way. If that works, it is not long before the first biological pacemaker is a fact. The development is underway, but we are not there yet.


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