This 7-minute video distributed over the Web and posted on the site of the English foundation Wellcome Trust (www.wellcome.ac.uk) briefly touches upon one of the heart’s mysteries.
The video opens in the Thirties, when a team of Russian scientists built a primitive extracorporeal circulation device that was tested on dogs. When blood stopped flowing through the heart, the heart stopped beating - the equivalent of a heart attack. A few minutes later, after circulation had been restored, the heart resumed beating regularly.
Fifty years later a medical student in the US made a paradoxical discovery. When he cut off the blood flow to the heart for a short time - in fact gave it a small heart attack - the heart became stronger. This is because the heart cells produce a cocktail of chemicals that makes the heart more able to withstand any further attacks - a process that is called “pre-conditioning”. Where is research going? What implications can the discovery of pre-conditioning have on human health?