Recent research has shown that there are new cells that develop in the heart, but how these cardiac cells are born and how frequently they are generated remains unclear.In a study from Harvard-affiliated Brigham and Women’s Hospital (BWH), researchers used a novel method to identify the new heart cells and describe their origins.The research was published today in Nature.“The question about how often cardiac cells are born has been extremely difficult to answer because there was a need for new techniques to help us understand this process,” said Harvard Medical School Professor of Medicine Richard T. Lee, the senior author of the paper and a researcher in the Cardiovascular Division at BWH.“We are especially excited about our findings because of the novel way in which we were able to show new heart cells, using multi-isotope imaging mass spectrometry (MIMS),” Lee continued. “Our collaborator, [HMS Associate Professor of Medicine] Claude Lechene, had developed this technology, and as a team we harnessed this for the cardiac regeneration question. These data present one piece of the puzzle when it comes to the discussion around the generation of new cardiac cells.”The team of BWH researchers marked existing cardiac cells genetically to cause them to express a green fluorescent protein. Then they used MIMS to examine the development of new heart muscle cells, called cardiomyocytes, in a preclinical model over a period of months. Researchers were surprised to find that new heart muscle cells primarily arose from existing heart muscle cells, rather than stem cells. Even in the setting of a heart attack, when stem cells are thought to be activated, most new heart cells were born from pre-existing heart cells.“Our data show that adult cardiomyocytes are primarily responsible for the generation of new cardiomyocytes and that, as we age, we lose some capacity to form new heart cells,” said Lee. “This means that we are losing our potential to rebuild the heart in the latter half of life, just when most heart disease hits us. If we can unravel why this occurs, we may be able to unleash some heart regeneration potential.”This research was funded through grants from the National Institutes of Health, the American Heart Association, Future Leaders in Cardiovascular Medicine, the Watkins Cardiovascular Leadership Award, and the Ellison Medical Foundation.
May 16, 2005 (CIDRAP News) – Nine people have died in the Republic of Congo from a hemorrhagic disease that authorities are describing as “Ebola-like,” and at least another 52 people who had contact with the victims are being monitored, according to news reports today.The prelude to the cluster of deaths follows a plot that could be lifted from past Ebola outbreaks. A hunting party from Itoumbi and Mbomo districts, several hundred kilometers north of Brazzaville, the capital, encountered a dead monkey and ate it, according to Alphonse Gando, the Congo Republic’s minister of health, as reported by Agence France-Presse (AFP) on May 12.Ebola is a highly contagious filovirus that can cause a gruesome death following hemorrhaging and is lethal in 50% to 90% of cases. Although there is no treatment and little is understood about its animal reservoir, contact with primates has been known to precipitate human outbreaks. The Congo Republic and neighboring Gabon have had several Ebola outbreaks, which have killed about 360 people since 1994, AFP reported.”We don’t have lab confirmation yet, but it has all the features of an Ebola outbreak,” said Dick Thompson, a World Health Organization spokesman, as quoted in a New York Times story today.Congo Republic health officials have moved quickly since the outbreak began in late April to investigate and stop the spread of the disease, according to the Times. This may indicate the country is learning how to cope with such outbreaks, Thompson told the newspaper.In nearby Angola, authorities are still struggling with the deadliest known outbreak of a similar hemorrhagic disease caused by the Marburg virus. New cases were still being reported, Reuters news service reported today, despite repeated announcements from local authorities that the outbreak was coming under control.”The outbreak is not over,” Aphaluck Bhatiasevi of the WHO told Reuters. The death toll stood at 292, with 336 known cases, Reuters reported. WHO numbers reported May 11 were lower: 316 known cases and 276 deaths.Authorities seemed most concerned about the appearance of apparently unrelated cases. “We’ve seen new cases in new municipalities that don’t have obvious links to earlier cases of Marburg,” Bhatiasevi said. “We are trying to do as much tracing as possible.”Preventing the spread of Marburg as a byproduct of certain traditional practices, particularly cleaning the dead before burial, continues to be a challenge for healthcare workers, Jose Van Dunem, a deputy health minister, told Reuters. Six traditional healers have died, but others are beginning to change their habits, he added.See also:May 13 WHO statement on Congo Republic outbreakhttp://www.who.int/csr/don/2005_05_13/en/index.htmlMay 11 WHO statement on Marburg outbreak in Angolahttp://www.who.int/csr/don/2005_05_11/en/index.html
A woman is facing a manslaughter charge for the weekend death of a bicyclist in Jupiter.According to Jupiter Police, a man was riding his bike on S. U.S. 1 early Sunday, when he was hit and killed by a car traveling on the southbound lanes of the road.Police arrested 32-year-old Janelle Nutting of Riviera Beach and charged her with DUI manslaughter.Courtesy: Palm Beach County Sheriff’s OfficeShe is being held at the main county jail, and is scheduled to make her first appearance in court Monday morning.No other information was available.