January 15, 2008

Fun in Medicine

Sleep softlyThis week Nature Medicine had a few fun results.

The one with the highest gosh-factor was of course Perfusion-decellularized matrix: using nature's platform to engineer a bioartificial heart by Ott et al: they cleaned out rat hearts with a detergent, making a perfect scaffolding to grow new cells on. While it isn't that hard to get spontaneous beating of myocardial cultures (if I understand right) this actually produces the right architecture of an entire organ, which is far more impressive. Obvious scaling issues of course.

It turns out that Adenosine is crucial for deep brain stimulation–mediated attenuation of tremor - the electrical signals cause release of ATP, which is broken down to adenosine, which depresses synaptic excitatory transmission. So the effect of the electrode is not entirely due to the signal but simply that it tires out the local neurons. This explains why the form of the signal doesn't seem to matter that much. I wonder how DBS reacts to coffee drinking?

Finally, a group of researchers found a signal pathway required for salt-induced hypertension. Apparently it does not regulate basal blood pressure, so treatments targeting it might not have hypotensive effects. Sounds good, I like salt.

Posted by Anders3 at January 15, 2008 08:41 PM