February 2020    
         
         
 
     
     
  In circulation  
     
     
  In 2004 the American Scholar published "Joyas Voladoras," an ode to the heart by Brian Doyle (1956-2017). In this short essay he writes, "No living being is without interior liquid motion. We all churn inside."  
     
     
  The heart powers that motion, and "every creature on earth has approximately two billion heartbeats to spend in a lifetime." Doyle's average takes a little literary license, but the point remains: we have a finite number of beats, and scientists are working to make sure we squeeze out every last drop of life.  
     
     
  Light hearted  
     
     
   
 
     
  (iStock.com/magicmine)  
     
 
     
     
   
     
     
  Traditional battery-powered pacemakers come with inherent risks. Although quite small, about the size of a matchbox, they must be implanted through a surgical incision and can cause irritation, leading to inflammation. UChicago chemist Bozhi Tian has developed a potential solution: a smaller nanotech pacemaker powered by light.  
     
 
 
 
     
  News beat  
     
     
 
     
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Cardiologists in training can now build clinical decision-making skills using a video game.
 
     
     
     
     
 
     
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In embryos, stem cells turn into different types of specialized cells. UChicago Medicine physicians are studying how that process's timing--influenced by the hedgehog signaling pathway--can lead to congenital heart defects (CHD). You can help children facing CHD by making a gift to the Heart of a Child Giving Challenge.
 
     
     
     
     
 
     
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Biology is just one factor in cardiac health. UChicago physicians, epidemiologists, and data scientists team up to produce a cardiovascular disease model that also incorporates social and environmental risk factors.
 
     
     
     
     
 
     
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A breakthrough in understanding "left bundle branch block"--an abnormal electrical pattern that causes heart failure--offers cardiologists new treatment approaches.
 
     
 
     
 
         
         
    Spotlight    
         
         
 
     
     
  Pumping iron  
     
     
   
 
     
  (Shutterstock.com/emojoez)  
     
 
     
     
  Peripheral heart action (PHA) training, developed in the 1940s by physiologist Arthur Steinhaus, SB 1920, SM'25, PhD'28, is a form of physical conditioning designed to keep blood consistently circulating.  
     
     
  In the early 1960s, while Steinhaus was exploring the physiology of maximum human physical performance--sometimes unethically--he began working with Bob Gajda, one of his students at George Williams College, to see if PHA could benefit bodybuilders. Gajda, who became PHA's biggest proponent, went on to become Mr. America 1966.  
     
 
 
     
  In case you missed it  
     
 
 
Ruminations: Biologists trace the journey of the mammalian jaw.
 
 
Save the date: Reunite with PSD graduates at Alumni Weekend, June 4-7, 2020.
 
 
 
 
     
 
     
  Support UChicago physical sciences.  
     
 
     
 
     
  UChicago Science, Engineering, and Innovation:
A Conversation with Bala Srinivasan, SM'91, PhD'95, and Juan de Pablo
Monday, February 24, 2020
Chicago Booth Campus in London

Register today for a fireside conversation about the exciting work that is advancing UChicago's impact and reputation across scientific and technological fields.


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