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Monday, August 18, 2008

Israel: Heal Broken Hearts Via Seaweed?

(Hat Tip: IsRealli)

Often known as the green stuff that occasionally shows up on beaches, seaweed is quickly gaining a reputation beyond the stuff that's included within ice cream.

It looks as if researchers from the Ben Gurion University have discovered an innovative way to use seaweed gel to help patients recover after a serious heart attack.

(Telegraph) Researchers at Israel's Ben Gurion University developed the gel, codenamed BL-1040, which helps to repair heart tissue after it is damaged in a heart attack.

After an attack scar tissue forms which tends to be thinner and weaker than the original. The left ventricle also becomes dangerously enlarged. Consequently the heart has to work harder to function, which can trigger future heart failure.

The gel - derived from an ordinary type of brown seaweed - helps aid regrowth, thickening the tissue and so lessening the risk of a further heart attack.

Tests conducted thus far are promising, with live testing (via humans) being carried out in Germany, Belgium and Israel (of course ;-)).

Israel is already using seaweed for biofuel, which could make this "oceanic grass" invaluable over the next few years.

(Image Credit: Eric Pierce)

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