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A Gel to ‘Mend a Damaged Heart’

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A bowl of hot seaweeds soup may be a sought-after dish, but the marine plants are more than a gourmet’s delight — they could mend a damaged heart.

Scientists for decades have grappled with various ways to block further tissue damage in patients who suffer a heart attack. Now, an Israeli team has developed a gel from seaweeds which could stave off the risk of an additional damage.

According to researchers, the gel when injected into the area of the heart, where the tissue has been damaged by an attack, solidifies — this allows a thick layer of scar tissue to grow, helping the heart to continue working normally.

The gel is made from ordinary brown seaweed and can be injected into the heart using a catheter fed through a vein in the groin.

“What it does is quite remarkable,” British newspaper Daily Mail quoted professor Smedar Cohen, who led the team which developed the gel at Israel‘s Ben Gurion University, as saying.

In trials, 90% of animals injected with the gel survived a heart attack compared to just 40% who received no treatment at all. Trials have started in Germany, Belgium and Israel on people who have suffered a major heart attack. If successful, the substance could hit the market by 2011.

Sources: The Times Of India

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