One of the problems with heart attacks (as if there weren’t enough already) is that when the heart heals afterwards, it grows scar tissue over the part of the heart that was damaged. That scar tissue never does become beating heart tissue, so it leaves the heart compromised for the rest of the patient’s life. There may be hope, however, as scientists from the University of Minnesota have created a new patch that allows the heart to heal more completely.
First of all, yes, this has been done before. We have already seen experimental “heart patches” from places like the University of Tel Aviv, Brown University and MIT, which allow the heart to heal with a minimum of scar tissue growth.
One of the things that makes this latest patch unique is the fact that it’s 3D-bioprinted out of structural proteins native to the heart. It takes the form of a scaffolding-like matrix, which is subsequently seeded with cardiac cells derived from stem cells. The result is a patch of material, similar in structure and material to heart tissue, containing actual functioning heart cells – as opposed to inert scar tissue.
Stop breadboarding and soldering – start making immediately! Adafruit’s Circuit Playground is jam-packed with LEDs, sensors, buttons, alligator clip pads and more. Build projects with Circuit Playground in a few minutes with the drag-and-drop MakeCode programming site, learn computer science using the CS Discoveries class on code.org, jump into CircuitPython to learn Python and hardware together, TinyGO, or even use the Arduino IDE. Circuit Playground Express is the newest and best Circuit Playground board, with support for CircuitPython, MakeCode, and Arduino. It has a powerful processor, 10 NeoPixels, mini speaker, InfraRed receive and transmit, two buttons, a switch, 14 alligator clip pads, and lots of sensors: capacitive touch, IR proximity, temperature, light, motion and sound. A whole wide world of electronics and coding is waiting for you, and it fits in the palm of your hand.