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Biotech News

Cardiac Patch for a Broken Heart 147

Posted by ScuttleMonkey
from the better-than-a-bandaid dept.
Roland Piquepaille writes "People who suffered from heart attacks or other heart failures often need transplants because their hearts are essentially non-functioning. But imagine what would happen if it was possible to engineer living heart tissues to fix these broken hearts? This is what bioengineers at Columbia University Medical Center in New York City are starting to make. According to HealthDay News, their patches for broken hearts are made of heart tissue grown in the lab. Right now, animal trials are just starting and it will take at least a decade before human trials begin. But when these living bandages are ready for cardiac care, they'll have the potential to save millions of lives in the world every year."
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Cardiac Patch for a Broken Heart

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  • My patch (Score:4, Funny)

    by Bob McCown (8411) on Sunday January 22, 2006 @09:28PM (#14535527)
    I prefer my patch for a broken heart. Glen Morangie.
  • by ciroknight (601098) on Sunday January 22, 2006 @09:31PM (#14535533)
    ..for my broken heart caused by my mean ex-girlfriend leaving me for another man?

    No? Then forget it. Back to alcohol and chocolate for me.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday January 22, 2006 @09:32PM (#14535541)
    the heart will work again for a little bit, but other major organs that iteract with the heart will cease to function correctly, and the new patch will somehow allow the heart to be more vulnerable to viruses.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    Or move to some other day to minimize heart attacks caused by 'patch overloading'?
  • Stem cell source (Score:1, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward
    There is a common, deliberate attempt to blur and hide the source of stem cells. Are they delivered from abortions or umbilical cords or from spinal cords?

    Whether everyone else agrees or not, Catholics have strong objections to abortions and, thus, to any product derived from the tissues of aborted children. Thus there is a demand, froma Catholic perspective, and a refusal, from an anticatholic perspective, to differentiate cells derived from aborted babies.

    on vaccines from aborted babies:
    http://www.geocit [geocities.com]
    • Dude, this is just muscle tissue. The heart is not made of stemcells. You heart is in fact a muscle. And muscle tissue can be grown, just like cartiledge (sp?) and bone without the help of stemcells.

      Quit bringing that stemcell debate crap into every medical advance that's out there please.
    • If only there was a way to prevent infectious diseases to spread from these religious nutjobs to other people, I'd say go for it. I love natural selection in action with these people. Unfortunately it is usually their kids that are dying, and they cannot have made a concious decision to risk their lives for some questionable beliefs.
      It could only be with people believing in eternal damnation that a virus that was isolated and attenuated decades ago with the help of celllines from aborted fetuses that the vi
      • . I love natural selection in action with these people

        You are actually getting it. What's happening is that only religious societies tend to be male dominated enough to reproduce for the expansion of its population. Liberal areligious European society is dying out, as is liberal America. Evolution wins. Irony of Irony, Darwin loves God best.
    • Would a Catholic go for an post-partum (WAYY post partum) aborted pig's heart valve or mechanical valve?

      Would a Catholic go for a cadever bone transplant or something else?

      While I appreciate the expressions of the Pope regarding this issue, is it really morally any different than a White Supremacist who refuses a blood transfusion from a nigger or kike, with the same level and depth of moral convictions and feelings? After all, if we're to take the Catholic Church with respect, should we not also grant the
  • Unluckily (Score:5, Funny)

    by DyslexicLegume (875291) on Sunday January 22, 2006 @09:35PM (#14535559)
    ...patches will only be available on the first Tuesday of every month. Any severe heart attacks occuring between these so called "patch days" will have to wait.
  • by keilinw (663210) * on Sunday January 22, 2006 @09:39PM (#14535578) Homepage Journal
    This is all very interesting. If and when they do manage to come out with the cardiac patch I would suspect (as well as hope) that they would have patches to fix other tissue types (striated, smooth, etc).

    I'm also wondering if it was possible to use cancer research to produce an anti-cancer... No I do not mean a cancer cure, but an infection of healthy living tissue. Is it possible to introduce healthy tissue into a body or system and have it spread in a cancer like fashion repairing everything in its path? That would be way too cool!

    --Matt Wong
    http://www.themindofmatthew.com [themindofmatthew.com]
    • Assuming this works, it would pave the way for other tissues to be potentially grown. If they can actually make lasting tissue for one of the hardest working organs in the body, I imagine they could easily make it for something else.
    • Is it possible to introduce healthy tissue into a body or system and have it spread in a cancer like fashion repairing everything in its path?

      Problem is, that's kind of what tumors already are -- normal tissues without the normal restriction on growth. (Yes, I realize that's a huge oversimplification. You don't need to explain why.) Almost by definition you can't beat cancer by adding new tissue to outcompete it.

    • ...because cardiac tissue usually doesn't regenerate. Your heart is significantly weakened after a heart attack, so "whatever doesn't kill you make you stonger" doesn't apply.

      As others pointed out, planting "healthy" tissue that outgrows cancer is just giving someone a worse cancer.

  • Dick Cheney (Score:5, Funny)

    by Mike570 (884414) <(moc.oohay) (ta) (075nitramkm)> on Sunday January 22, 2006 @09:40PM (#14535588)
    FINALLY, there's hope for Dick Cheney! Now if only they knew how to grow a brain for Georie.
    • by Anonymous Coward
      Why do liberals always seem to attack others' physical disabilities? Cheney has a weak heart, so what? he's a good man who works hard to protect us even with a defect which could kill him from the strain. Bush didn't get the best grades in college, so what? Neither did Einstein. Bush knows who the experts are and he surrounds himself with them in order to protect us from the animals who attacked us on 9/11. Would you forgo protection? Do you want to allow the animals to overrun this country and slit
      • by Anonymous Coward
        A/C you are a Great American to state the Truth. And I'll take a shot at you question. Why? Because they want us to THINK they care about those who are not perfect, when in fact they use those same shortcomings against those they are "protecting" and to advance themselves. It's all an ACT to get CONTROL over people. If you go way back you'll see that some very well known Liberals were against integration of blacks (G.Wallace was a Democrat), were racists (R.Byrd was a prominent KKK member), and even FOR Sla
      • It's a joke about Cheney not having a heart in the figurative sense. Look up the word heartless [reference.com].


    • I'm afraid you're gonna have to ask the Wonderful Wizard of Oz for that...
       
      Besides, if he can't do it, no one can :D
      • Cheney, Bush and Clinton appear before the great Wizard, and are promised one request each.
        "I need a new heart." Says Cheney. Poof, the wizard grants him a heart as healthy as a 20 year old.
        "I think I need a new bike..." Bush says, as the others elbow him in the ribs. "I mean brain." Poof. The Wizard gives him the brain of a genius.
        Clinton then approaches the Wizard, looks around and says. "So, uhm, where's Dorothy?"
    • "FINALLY, there's hope for Dick Cheney! Now if only they knew how to grow a brain for Georie."

      Ouch. Be careful with GWB jokes, they can really backfire!
  • by Impeesa (763920) on Sunday January 22, 2006 @09:41PM (#14535591)
    ...you were supposed to patch before an attack happened. I guess I was wrong.
  • by mwooldri (696068) on Sunday January 22, 2006 @09:41PM (#14535595)
    My son's bladder was born on the outside - and needed it reversed. His surgeon at the time got to the point before putting it back in the body but then something happened: he moved on. However his new surgeon - Dr. Atala - is a guy renowned in the field for tissue re-engineering. My son's bladder is now back on the inside but one of the exciting things that is happening right now is that he has more of a chance of getting his bladder completely fixed out now than at any other time. His bladder is too small... and needs augmenting. The "traditional" way has been to augment the bladder with intestine tissue (often needing an extra channel for urine excretion), but Dr. Atala has managed to figure out how to augment the bladder - at least AFAIK in animals - with engineered tissue based on the original bladder. And the guy was attracted to our area to continue his research.

    I'm excited about this growth area in medicine - not as a doctor or as a medical professional (sorry I am squeamish at blood) - but as a parent of a child who stands to benefit enormously from this kind of research. I hope and pray that this kind of stuff - patching hearts, augmenting bladders, mending broken organs in general - all develops and gets to the point of viability in time.

    Mark.
  • Either tax cigarettes out of existance, prevent people from obtaining health care on the government's dime if they smoked or ban them altogether. Allowing cigarettes to exist after 400 years of knowing about their disastrous consequences for not only the smoker but people around him is insane.

    Start a fat and salt tax. If you serve more than 100 customers a day and your food is unhealthy charge the expected cost in healthcare that triple cheeseburger is going to cost in 30 years when that customer is ju

    • I'm sorry. You seem to think that the root cause is the industry that sells these sorts of things to the people that want them. Why not get rid of this "not my responsibility" attitude and point the finger of blame on the individual. There wouldn't be a cigarette industry if people didn't buy them. Likewise fast food. Cigarettes and fast food save us money by killing people sooner. Would you rather everyone lived to be 100 in a nursing home costing medicare/social security 5000 dollars a month? Yeah, that
      • Would you rather everyone lived to be 100 in a nursing home costing medicare/social security 5000 dollars a month?

        I hear that loud and clear. Too bad it's going to run out in about 40 or some years from now regardless. (Or so they say) So I say that if you've got a qualifying disability, then you may just as well get your money back while you can. Don't wait for it to not get fixed. ;)

      • Too many double standards. Cigs are legal but weed is not. I can buy 198 proof alchohol but not laudanum. If you actually had your libertarian utopia I might agree with you, but since government is already in the drug approval business it is its responsibility to protect me from people smoking cigs and costing me money and my health when they do it in public places.

        If you don't think the tobbaco companies are proactive in creating new customers (kids and teenagers) you are delusional. Especially chec

    • People would still get heart disease, albeit less. And a better solution than taxing those businesses would be for the government to stop paying for health care entirely. If someone wants to hurt themself with unhealthy food or smoking it's their problem, and no one should pay for it but themselves, not even the company that provides the means. As for second hand smoke, I think smoking should only be allowed on private property, perhaps with a cigarette tax meant to pay for the pollution caused by smoking.
      • Smoking is pretty evil... I've been doing it for years and want to quit. It's not easy.

        There are a few things with your argument, though, that you might want to be aware of.

        The mere suggestion that smoking is a significant bringer of pollution is not only idiotic, it's turning a blind eye to all the things that everyone relies on that make a much larger impact pollution-wise for the sake of hyping the problems with cigarettes. If we're going to tax cigarettes based on their ability to pollute, let's use it
        • To be honest, I know nothing about the pollution caused by smoking which is why I said "perhaps".

          And I never said that they shouldn't be allowed to be among other people. A restaurant is private property. A sidewalk in the city generally isn't. A government building isn't. If the person or business that owns property wants to allow smoking in it, they should be able to.

        • Smoking is pretty evil... I've been doing it for years and want to quit. It's not easy.

          No, it's not easy. I can vouch for that. It took me about four or five times to quit myself. A lot of it's I think 'in your head' and how you cope with things, stress, and so forth. I know it's damn near impossible to quit if you're not too happy with your life as it is. But, it does get a bit easier to quit when you take yourself out of bad situations and get yourself a better outlook. Then, all you really have to deal

          • My problem, despite good times or bad, has always been about routines.. (I've been trying for several years now) It's almost never about the nicotine cravings, which probably sounds like B.S., but it isn't.

            After 10 years or so, you get used to smoking in certain situations - after eating, taking a break from something to think, in the car, around others who are smoking... Those are the times when it's the hardest, and has always been when I've faltered, even with the gum, patch, lozenges, and even snuff (th
            • My problem, despite good times or bad, has always been about routines.. (I've been trying for several years now) It's almost never about the nicotine cravings, which probably sounds like B.S., but it isn't.

              I believe you about the routines, as that was part of my problem, too. For me, it was either after dinner, after just stepping outside, after getting nagged at by the ol' ball and chain, being in the bar amongst other smokers, and other situations like that. A lot of things would trigger me to light up,

      • Lets hope what you propose never happens again. Because if it does I'd want you to get heart disease and see just how hard it will be for you to fork out $1mil for the transplant and treatments. You're saying we should not be allowed to smoke anywhere but on private property, then you are preety stupid.

        Firstly with such a law passed, this decreases "freedom". With smoking out of the picture in public places eventually more things will become illegal and with time this world will turn into a dystopia, where
    • That's why I quit smoking and moved out of the city to begin with. We don't need another bad habits tax. What we need is for people to be responsible for their own actions. You get lung cancer from puffing two packs a day for 30+ years? Too bad. You saw the warning labels everyday for 30+ years, and you chose to ignore them. So, you pay for your own medical care. Don't go 'boo-hoo' to the Gov't and make me pay for it. Sounds fair enough to me, at least.

      As for small town living, ymmv but for me it's alright.
      • So you moved out to the "country", great. Us city slickers think you should have to pay the same taxes we have to. Don't count on us to bail you out when you get flooded out, droughted to dust, or burned down to a ground.

        Hey, city slicker, stop passing laws (and the taxes to pay for them!) in the legislature to make the rest of us rural folk pay for your increased infrastructure requirements, crime problems, etc.

        Hey, LA, got an earthquake problem? Well, silly you for living in an earthquake zone.

        In the end,
    • Make people responsible for their own lives. Make people deal with the consequences. But having the government take money from people to then pay it out on their behalf later makes no sense.

      Because
      1) it just won't be there for them anyway, and
      2) people then expect to be taken care of.

      That in no way encourages responsibility.
      • Than why when I walk out of any grocery store, movie theater or college classroom in America will half the time I be confronted with cigarette smoke? It is my responsibility to protect myself but how can I do that, shoot the smoker in self defense?
    • Make cities walkable again, set off a portion of every downtown that people can walk around without the smell of diesel and gasoline in their nostrils on an otherwise fine day.

      I think that the other shoe is finally dropping here. Minimalls seem like a great idea, but they aren't exactly nice to look at and contribute a lot to people getting in their car to drive two minutes instead of either walking the whole way or driving to one or two key locations and walking from there. And I think city planners are

    • If people in general were not so stupid, lazy, and irresponsible, we wouldn't have so many fatasses in the states. There would not be nearly as much obesity and therefore Heart Disease would be less prevalent.

      If people would walk, bike, run, or skate to their destinations more often we would have less of an obesity problem also. Moderation in everything, including moderation.

      Cities DO have areas which are not polluted by car exhaust and other harmful things. Have you ever been to Manhattan? There's a sm
  • Public Health costs (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Freaky Spook (811861) on Sunday January 22, 2006 @09:46PM (#14535622)
    Currently people awaiting donors for hearts are assesed on age & how they live & will they benefit a heart.

    I know there are a lot of people who live a good life & then suffer heart failure, but there is also a lot of people simply who simply live badly, they drink and smoke too much, eat too much & they don't exercise.

    If there was a quick fix to heart problems, how many people would change their lives? Would they improve their quality of living or would they simply just resume their old ways & end up having to have the procedure again at the expense of the public health system.

    Im all for ways of improving our chance of living through medicine, but there are a lot of people who bring upon these conditions because of their own lazyness & over-indulgence. Fixing their hearts won't nessesarily make them want to improve other area's of their life which created the heart problem in the beginning.

    With medicine getting better & much more serious conditions being able to be fixed a lot easier, what are the social implications of this, humans are lazy, would it help create a society of people less concerned about their health? And what would that cost?
    • It might cause an initial increase in hedonism, but once you get your chest cracked open, you're not eager to have it done again!
    • but there are a lot of people who bring upon these conditions because of their own lazyness & over-indulgence. Fixing their hearts won't nessesarily make them want to improve other area's of their life which created the heart problem in the beginning.

      You know, you can say that about a lot of diseases. You get lung cancer from smoking. You get liver problems from drinking. People primarily [1] get HIV through doing stupid things that are universally known to be stupid. But yet, we do what we can to

    • With medicine getting better & much more serious conditions being able to be fixed a lot easier, what are the social implications of this, humans are lazy, would it help create a society of people less concerned about their health? And what would that cost?
      Well, when society can't bear the cost any longer, the problem will take care of itself... And if this never happens, then there isn't a problem.
    • Stop your bitching. The problem with the health care system is not that people are not living healthy lifestyles, it's doctors, pharmacutical companies, and insurance companies working in unison to squeeze every penny out of our collective asses.

      I suggest you read this mostly true story about a drug rep in comic form. [ministry-of-fun.com]

      I bet if they stop covering Viagra and buying $20 gallons of orange juice, insurance companies can recover the costs of the occasional extra open heart surgery.
      • I bet if they stop covering Viagra and buying $20 gallons of orange juice, insurance companies can recover the costs of the occasional extra open heart surgery.

        Damn, what I meant to say is:

        I'd bet if insurance companies stopped covering Viagra and pharmacutical companies stopped buying $20 gallons of orange juice, we could recover the costs of a few extra open heart surgeries.
    • Riddle me this, Freaky Spook:

      What happens when the Baby Boomers hit 90 and we get genetic medicine right at the same time, extending their lives to 120.

      How's Social Security going to hold up?
  • I'll just stick with my lonely heart, thanks. I've heard that owning one of those is much better than owning a broken one.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    waiting on them to allow this procedure to be used.

    My daughter was born eleven years ago needing a heart transplant. The four pediatric cardiologists in this state all argued over which of several procedures would be best, but in the end none of them would do a damn thing to help her because the AMA recommended against all of the procedures except a transplant. Legally the doctors could help her, but they were too afraid of the AMA. In the end, we had to do a transplant. That cost $225,000 for just the
  • The patch will be made entirely of chocolate ice cream.
    The male patch will consist of pornography and alcohol.
  • True Story (Score:5, Interesting)

    by TubeSteak (669689) on Sunday January 22, 2006 @10:22PM (#14535776) Journal
    I had an old teacher who's had TWO artificial hearts. The first one was your standard pump driven noisemaker.

    However, the pump mashes up the blood cells and was giving him anemia.

    Soooo... They pulled it out and stuck in a new one. This artificial heart has a turbine in it to push the blood along. He no longer has a pulse, just a blood pressure.
    • I had an old teacher who's had TWO artificial hearts.

      So he's a Time Lord, then?

      (Sounds a bit like my grandmother, who after three hip replacements has difficulty walking, but waltzes divinely)
    • That is unbelievably cool. Cyborgs own, and it'll be neat to see what kinda stuff will be around when the current generation gets old.
  • wow... (Score:3, Funny)

    by andy55 (743992) on Sunday January 22, 2006 @10:30PM (#14535815) Homepage
    Wow, what a messed up /. story the day ater I found out that my gf has been cheating on me for months (no joke).

    • Re:wow... (Score:2, Funny)

      by kadathseeker (937789)
      Pssh. Please. Was she cheating with a sharp object or something? Don't worry, a little duct tape is all you need to patch that "relationship" back together. Or did the cheating start after you joined /.?
  • > Right now, animal trials are just starting and it will
    > take at least a decade before human trials begin. But
    > when these living bandages are ready for cardiac care,
    > they'll have the potential to save millions of lives
    > in the world every year.

    While I can see engineering taking awhile to develop something useful to humans, keep in mind that every year delayed "proving it" to arrogant government officials kills millions a year. Now explain to me why exactly they are a friend to humanity ag
    • While I can see engineering taking awhile to develop something useful to humans, keep in mind that every year delayed "proving it" to arrogant government officials kills millions a year. Now explain to me why exactly they are a friend to humanity again?

      You don't catch the non-nerd news much, do you? Even drugs that are tested a lot, but which have some mixed results, end up being not perfect for at least a few people, someone (who is already very sick in some other way) ends up dying while using the prod
  • by Quirk (36086) on Sunday January 22, 2006 @10:38PM (#14535844) Homepage Journal
    Recently there has been a spate of stories about growing meat for human consumption. In growing meat for consumption there is a need for the tissue to be stretched to provide the 'exercise' for the growing muscles. [bbc.co.uk] Presently the cost to manufacture a single burger would run into the millions of dollars.

    Growing heart tissue would be much more demanding requring "exercising" the muscle, plus as the article pointed out there are problems of tissue acceptance, adhesion and syncing the pulse of the muscle patch to the existing heart tissue. Given these hurtles it looks like this technology has many hurtles to jump.

    Pursuing an interest in Dictyostelium amoebae [dictybase.org] provides an starting point to studying chemotaxis and cellular communication.

  • Apparently, they'll finally have an answer to their long-unanswered question, "How can you mend a broken heart."
  • try.. (Score:2, Funny)

    by pkplex (535744)
    atp-get dist-upgrade. Upgrades all the other body parts too.
  • Can't they aready patch hearts?

    My brother like most people with down syndrome was born with a hole in his heart, the doctors used some wierd material to patch it, they seemed quite good at it scince the doctor had also done a girl born with down syndrome a few hours earlier.
    • The difference is that with Down's syndrome, although there is a hole (usually between the chambers), the heart is otherwise a fully functional muscle. Repair is a matter of staunching the leak with a material flexible and durable enough.

      In heart attacks a portion of the muscle dies (ironically, because of impeded blood flow) and cannot be repaired using current techniques since it would involve wholesale replacement of the affected region to restore full function.

      By way of analogy: a steel plate will fix a
  • by Trifthen (40989) on Sunday January 22, 2006 @10:58PM (#14535923) Homepage
    This really strikes me as an exciting breakthrough. I had heart surgery back in 1984 to repair a hole between my ventricles that drastically increased the viability of my life. Aside from having my ribs stapled together, I have a Dacron (a type of polyester) patch in my heart because the hole was too large to simply sew shut. Aside from basically being in good health since then, I'm always afraid that the growth of my heart in the intervening years is unduly stressing the patch; I was only seven when I underwent the surgery. I've always wondered if I could have my heart repaired properly; what it would mean to my energy levels, strength and peace of mind.

    The real question is, could they grow a proper heart or replacement pieces from my genes at all? I had six major life-threatening heart defects that were mostly corrected, but there's always that lingering feeling that things could be better. If not for the surgery, I'm sure I'd be dead by now. Hell, I almost didn't make it past two months. Would something like this work for me? Would it be worth going back in there to complete the repairs?

    Who knows. But I have to say this is definitely a thought-provoking piece of information. Unlike people who undergo heart-surgery in their later years, I never had a fully functional heart. Ah, the possibilities!

    For those keeping score, this should sate your curiosity:

    1. Faulty aortal valve: mostly corrected, slight murmur remains
    2. Transposed position (It leans right instead of left): uncorrected
    3. Half expected size: repairs later encouraged growth
    4. Unknown muscle-tissue grown over heart: removed
    5. Large hole between ventricles: covered with Dacron patch
    6. Two small holes between atria: sewn shut
  • I'm holding out for weight management service pack.
  • We have an answer to the question posed by the Bee Gees years ago.

    (Seriously... this is great news. I hope it works.)
  • Great news! Another double Quarter-Pounder, please. Extra cheese and bacon.
  • This is a very good idea and autografts (tissue grafts made from the patients' own cells) have been used to replace skin on burn patients for some time. However, I see a few issues that need to be addressed:

    1. Proper muscle function. If the cardiac patch grows and replaces the dead tissue, it will not do much good if the muscle doesn't contract and pump blood like real tissue does.

    2. Scarring. The heart would have a large amount of scarring from where the ischemic tissue was removed. Also, the graft would n
    • Somehow, I doubt this will be worse than the relative hatchet-job of current heart surgery. While it's true things are more complicated than they seem, I had a heart surgery back in 1984, and they fixed a valve, inserted a Dacron patch, sewed up two holes, and did it all without any of the stuff you mentioned in your post. Imagine how much better it would be with actual tissue instead of formed polyesters and sutures.

      Yeah, it could have gone badly, but it would have been far worse if I didn't get the surg
  • I recently attended a talk about longetivity of humanity-- in particular about finding logetivity genes. One of the figures that was presented was on the average lifespan given per year. Since the late 1800's or so, every 10 years, the average lifespan increases by 2 1/2 years. It's a linear relationship that hasn't shown signs of slowing.

    Not as impressive as the doubling of chip speeds, but when you think about it, the average person born today is going to live about 20 years longer than the people that
  • [Ellen Heber-Katz at the Wistar Institute http://www.wistar.org/research_facilities/heberkat z/research.htm%5D [wistar.org] has been using gene therapy to develop mice that can repair their own hearts and even grow new limbs if they are cut off. This is a biggie..
  • ... or we simply stop eating the trash that lets us get heart attacks in the first place!
  • Are these delta patches? Will I need to completely remove my original heart, and then fully install an artificial and then apply the patches, or will the patches work with my original install? Is there going to be any DRM content in the patch base, or do I get the source code with it? Grrrr.. it's enough to give one a heart attack - gah!! Circular reasoning with recursi- *doh*...*thump*...
  • Once capitalism takes hold, and these broken-heart patches become available to the public, they will probably be more expensive than the average working person would be able to afford. I hope I'm wrong, but something tells me that I probably won't be.

    I have a friend who moved to Canada last year, and he has been telling me stories about the health system up there. Basically health coverage is provided by the government at no charge to the patient. I don't know all of the details, but he told me he was in an
  • I wish we'd be more honest with ourselves. I'm going to die, and I know it. If I don't die of a heart attack, maybe I'll get cancer. Money spent on helping a retiree get two more marginal, high cost years might, perhaps, be better spent elsewhere -- maybe on poor children?
  • My mother-in-law had one of her heart valves repaired in open heart surgery a few years ago. I was amazed. They said that if they couldn't sew it back together, that they would put in a pig's valve, with somewhat higher risk factors.

    Makes you want to live near a hospital. See? City living is healthier after all!

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