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Old 10-09-06, 01:26 PM   #1
Twincities MN
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The amazing human heart

My FIL, age 72, went in for an angiogram this am. Turns out he has 100% blockage in one artery, 90% in another, so they scheduled him for a quad bypass. But check this out. The reason he isn't dead or hasn't even had a heart attack is because he grew blood vessels that bypassed his blockages. It's in the photo! Has anyone ever heard of this, or is my son blessed with some of Grandpa's superior genetics?

Dang, either way, sucks to be him.
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Old 10-09-06, 07:36 PM   #2
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Kwuan: Link didn't show up. Congrats on you fil being alive...I hope he is a nice guy.
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Old 10-13-06, 01:51 PM   #3
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The body is able to produce new vessels. It is called angiogenesis. It is quite normal.

Although the example you give is quite spectacular, we do this all the time. Every time you get a bruise, it is the result of blood leaking out of traumatized and damaged blood vessels. If the damage is severe enough the body will need to replace those vessels with new ones. If not, we would eventually lose body parts due to a lack of circulation to parts of the body damaged by bruises. Just imagine even more traumatic injuries and how well people can recover from those!!

Although we aren't exactly as good as a starfish growing a new "arm", we are able to regenerate an awful lot of cell types including vessels which are rather complex.

Angiogenesis is also a bad thing. During tumor growth for example, the tumor cells recruit other cells and send signals to initiate angiogenesis. Those new vessels feed the tumor's massive out of control growth. There are drugs in the pipeline that block angiogenesis which in effect starves the tumor causing it to shrink and die.
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