Wednesday, 19 March 2008

WRONG: Your heart is on the left side of your chest

Despite the fact that you can more readily feel your heart on the left side of your chest than on the right, it is actually in the centre, between your lungs and behind the breastbone. The left ventricle, however, is stronger and bulges out slightly to the left, meaning that your heartbeat is on the left side. Unless, of course, you’re one of the fewer than 1 in 10,000 people born situs inversus, where your organs are in the opposite position to the norm.

While the symptom most people associate with a heart attack is crushing pain in the chest, it’s been suggested that up to 20 per cent of mild heart attacks go more or less unnoticed. And not to imply that hearts aren’t important, but in 2006, 65-year-old Canadian Gerard Langevin was fitted with an artificial pump (the Thoratec Heartmate™ II) after severe heart failure and by all accounts lives a happy cyborg life despite not having a pulse or measureable blood pressure.

If that sounds impressive, in January 2008 Dr Doris Taylor’s team at the University of Minnesota stripped dead rats’ hearts of all their cells using detergents to leave only a protein structure. (That’s not the impressive part.) They replaced the dead cells with live ones harvested from newborn rats and, incredibly, regrew the organs and brought them to life outside of a body. It is unrecorded whether Dr Taylor maniacally shrieked “It’s ALIVE!” when the first heart pumped.

1 comment:

MrR26 said...

why are the headers for the site in French?