Want to get healthy without exercise? Trick your heart with a new pill
In developed countries, every year, many deaths are caused by heart failure. Very few cases of heart disease are treatable and most heart patients succumb to it. However, scientists have now found a way to trick the heart back to health.
Heart failure occurs when the heart can't pump enough blood through the body. This also happens after the heart muscle tissue is weakened by a heart attack. Is there a way to protect the heart from this damage? Researchers at the Ottawa Hospital and the University of Ontario conducted a study on this, the findings of which were published in Cell Research. During the study, they discovered a protein called cardiotrophin 1 (CT1) that helped the heart grow healthy, reversed damage, and improved blood flow. They used the protein to make a pill that could essentially trick the heart into pumping more blood as it would during exercise.
Dr. Lynn Megeney, senior author of the study, explains that the heart growth caused by the protein is not the same as the harmful enlargement of the heart that occurs during heart failure. He says: "When part of the heart dies, the remaining muscles try to adapt by getting bigger, but this happens in a dysfunctional way and it doesn't actually help the heart pump more blood. We found that CT1 causes heart muscles to grow in a more healthy way and it also stimulates blood vessel growth in the heart. This actually increases the heart's ability to pump blood, just like what you would see with exercise and pregnancy."
The research states that CT1 can repair heart damage and improve blood flow even in cases of heart failure in animals. While improving heart health and reversing damage without exercise lends itself to endless possibilities, the immediate application is that the need for heart transplants may be significantly reduced.
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