Being the leading cause of death around the world, heart disease could be caused by fats that harden and block arteries, and high blood pressure that damages blood vessel. Other risk factors also include high blood cholesterol, overweight, obesity, diabetes, lack of physical activity, smoking, unhealthy diet, etc. Of course, family history of heart disease could be the cause too.
As reported on May 19, 2009 in the Journal of the American Medical Association, some patients with a chronic form of heart disease could feel better with the injection of bone marrow stem cells into their hearts. The infusions helped blood flow, reduced pain and helped patients exercise more.
Bone marrow stem cell therapy is being tested for a range of heart conditions, including for people with blocked arteries that reduce blood supply to the heart.
The study, carried out by Dutch researchers from Leiden University Medical Centre in the Netherlands, examined 50 people, with an average age of 64, who had chronic ischemia (blocked arteries). One group received about 8 injections of bone marrow cells while others got a placebo.
After 3 months, those who received the injections showed signs that their hearts pumped better and had improved blood flow, as compared with the others. Meanwhile, they also got greater improvements in the ability to exercise and scored higher on quality-of-life measurements than those men and women taking the placebo.
With the new findings in hand, the researchers would very likely to carry out trials to see whether the bone marrow stem cell therapy would help heart disease patients live longer.