Good day and welcome to Health Tech Weekly, the show on technology that helps create a healthier you! I’m your host Jamie Davis, the Podmedic. Before we get into this week’s health tech item, make sure you head over to our site at HTWeekly.com for links to everything covered in this episode, contact information and more. Also, Health Tech Weekly is a proud member of the Tech Podcast Network, if it’s tech it’s here at TPN.tv.
Speeding Up A Slowing Heart
This week on Health Tech Weekly I am excited to bring you some new information on breakthroughs in gene therapy. Specifically, gene therapy for people with heart conditions. Currently when you have certain kinds of heart conditions where the cardiac muscle has become damaged and can’t beat effectively on it’s own, you can get an implanted pacemaker which reads the heartbeat and determines if the beat is fast enough. If it’s not, the pacemaker sends an electrical charge to the heart muscle causing it to contract and beat.
Some scientists would like to do something a little less invasive than putting a battery pack the size of a deck of cards in a person’s chest. The gang at Cedars-Sinai Heart Institute in LA have come up with a possible biological solution to the problem with an implanted gene that would create a pacemaker in the heart itself to speed up the heartbeat in people with one that is too slow.
Permanent Pacemaker Fix
They have made this work in pigs hearts, where they inject a gene called TBX18 into a pigs heart and the heartbeat speeds up for the duration of the study. This could be a lot let invasive than a full surgical implantation of a current mechanical pacemaker and battery pack. This type of therapy also is promising for infants with heart conditions since they are not able to put full sized pacemakers in them until they are nearly adults.
This might mean that a slow heartbeat could be cured forever without risk of mechanical failure, infection or having to replace batteries every 10 years. Cool! I’ll bring you more on this and other cutting edge gene therapy in future episodes here on the show so stay tuned here to Health Tech Weekly!
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I’m your host Jamie Davis, the Podmedic. I’ll be back soon with more health technology for you. In the meantime, remember that improving health takes small, simple steps that over time all add up to a healthier you. Why don’t you take a healthier step today?