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Wednesday, December 7, 2022
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Making the Idea of a Healthy Heart less ‘Shocking’

Human beings tend to excel in various different areas, and yet our greatest ability is the one that pushes us to get better on a consistent basis. This ability, in particular, has gone on to fetch us some huge milestones, with technology appearing as a major member of the stated squad. The reason why technology enjoys such an esteemed stature among people is largely because of its skill-set, which put-together a reality for us that we couldn’t have imagined otherwise. Nevertheless, if we look beyond the surface, it will become clear how the whole runner was also very much inspired by the way we applied those skills across a real-world environment. The latter component was, in fact, what gave the creation a spectrum-wide presence, including a timely appearance on our healthcare block. Technology’s link-up with healthcare was perfect in regards to the timing as it came right when the sector was beginning to struggle against its own obsolete structure. This reality, fortunately enough, went through a complete under the new regime, but even after going that far, the emerging medtech concept will somehow continue to bring all the right goods to the table. The same has only turned more and more evident over the recent past, and truth be told, one recent development does a lot to make that trend bigger and better moving forward.

The researching team at University of Arizona has successfully developed a battery-free light-powered pacemaker, which uses optogenetic stimulation of cardiomyocytes to achieve optimal heart pacing. According to certain reports, the technology is built around four specific petals that wrap around the heart in a purely non-invasive manner before using light to stimulate genetically-modified cardiomyocytes, and consequentially, achieve a more regulated heartbeat. Now, pacemakers aren’t quite an unknown commodity, but whatever we have seen, so far, in this space has proven to be hugely uncomfortable for the patient. To give you some context, with conventional pacemakers, the leads of the device are anchored into the wall of a heart, and that is notably done on the back of highly-invasive hooks or screws. Once the anchoring bit is completed, small electrical shocks are sent throughout the entire heart, therefore causing patients an extreme amount of pain and discomfort. University of Arizona’s latest brainchild, on its part, doesn’t require any hooks or screws to do the job. Leave that, it doesn’t even require a battery, a feature which instantly makes it a much more universal healthcare prospect.

“Whereas right now, we have to shock the whole heart to do this, these new devices can do much more precise targeting, making defibrillation both more effective and less painful,” said Igor Efimov, a researcher involved in the study. “This technology could make life easier for patients all over the world, while also helping scientists and physicians learn more about how to monitor and treat the disease.”

Up until now, the researchers have tested out their technology in a strain of mouse that contains light-sensitive cells, but if everything goes just like how they envisioned it, their idea should be able to hit the clinic at some point so to achieve a wider application.

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