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Strenuous exercise may help to repair damage from heart failure

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
November 5th, 2012
Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

Following a heart attack, the patient typically takes bed rest and makes sure they don't necessarily the heart muscles. Now - researchers in the United Kingdom say that strenuous daily exercise could help to repair the heart of someone who has just suffered a heart attack.

LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Medical researchers at Liverpool John Moores University has found that vigorous, regular exercise led to dormant stem cells in the heart becoming active, stimulating the development of new heart muscle.

As published in the European Heart Journal, the study suggests that scientists could soon be able to improve the quality of life for people suffering from either heart disease or heart failure.

The report breaks new ground as it is the first study of its kind to suggest that a basic exercise regime could have the same effect on the heart as injecting growth chemicals to stimulate stem cells to produce new tissue.

Funded by the British Heart Foundation, the team of scientists studied healthy male rats for up to four weeks by exercising them on an intensity-controlled treadmill for half an hour, four times a week.
 
The rats on a high-intensity program showed the greatest increase in the size of their hearts, as expected, but also their aerobic capacity, which is how well the heart, lungs and blood vessels work.

The exercise resulted in more than 60 percent of heart stem cells becoming active. In adults, these stem cells are usually dormant.

The rats, after a mere two short weeks had increased the number of cardiomyocites, the "beating" cells in heart tissue, by seven percent.

"This study adds to the growing evidence that adult hearts may be able to make new muscle from dormant stem cells," Professor Jeremy Pearson, associate director of the British Heart Foundation says.

"However, much more research is now needed to find out whether what's been seen in this study can be translated into treatments for human patients."

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