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Heart Roundup

August 20, 2010

Scientists are testing chemicals that may help the heart re-grow muscle tissue.

Transcript

BOB HIRSHON (Host):
Helping hearts fix themselves. I\’m Bob Hirshon and this is Science Update.

Heart disease causes the beating muscle cells of the heart to die. These cells can’t be replaced, so the heart gets weaker. But new research published in the journal Cell shows how scientists used a cocktail of three chemicals to convert structural heart cells called fibroblasts into active, beating heart cells. The group is now working on a method for delivering these chemicals directly where the heart repair is needed.

In other news, a paper in the journal Cell Metabolism reports that the active ingredient in hot chili peppers reduced blood pressure in genetically hypertensive lab rats. The compound is called capsaicin and it relaxes the walls of blood vessels. The researchers note that human populations that eat a lot of hot food tend to have lower rates of hypertension. I’m Bob Hirshon for AAAS, the Science Society.