Errors in this complex process can and often do happen, leading to an array of possible birth defects. Congenital heart defects are some of the most frequent.
Despite surgical advances that have improved our ability to mend these defects, babies born with ‘broken hearts' still face an uncertain road ahead. Genetic factors that trigger the defects may manifest themselves once again, later in life, in the form of adult heart disease or be passed on to subsequent generations. With help from a troop of small, furry assistants, H. Scott Baldwin, M.D., is one of a large team of Vanderbilt researchers focused on finding the responsible genes.
"Roughly one in 100 children is born with a congenital heart defect," said Baldwin, Katrina Overall Professor of Pediatrics and professor of Cell and Developmental Biology at Vanderbilt University Medical Center. continued..