Vedere la Scienza Festival

International Scientific TV, Film and AV Media Festival

Milano   30/3/2009 - 5/4/2009

Spazio Oberdan, viale Vittorio Veneto 2 - Milano


The Good Heart Attack

  1. Original Title: The Good Heart Attack
  2. Director: Uli Hesse, Dr. Sean Davidson
  3. Scientific Advisor: Dr. Sean Davidson
  4. Editor: Siv Lamark
  5. Photography: Dr. Sean Davidson
  6. Sound: Uli Hesse
  7. Production: Debora Kingsland, DFG and The Wellcome Trust
  8. United Kingdom
  9. 7 min.
  10. 2008

This 7-minute video distributed over the Web and posted on the site of the English foundation Wellcome Trust ( 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?