The lub-dub of a healthy heart

Valves in action give the heart its characteristic lub-dub sound. When they fail, the results can be fatal. What if scientists could build replacement heart valves from patients’ own tissues? The hypothesis may be “outrageous,” but according to Vanderbilt researchers, it just might work.  read article

Cardiac regeneration

Damaged hearts one day may be renewed, thanks to an experimental “regenerative medicine” technique that uses stem cells harvested from the patient’s bone marrow. The goal is to get the right cells to the right place, and get them to do the right thing -- turn into new heart muscle.  read article

Off tempo

Nearly every minute of every day, an American is killed by sudden cardiac death. With the help of genetic screening and pharmacogenomics, scientists are finding ways to identify—and prevent—the errant heartbeat before it takes another life.  read article

Too much clot

People with obesity and diabetes are more likely than others to die of heart attacks and strokes. The culprit is thrombosis—their blood tends to clot more easily. Racing before the rising tide of these twin epidemics, Vanderbilt scientists are trying to find out why.  read article

The cholesterol conundrum

Cholesterol is either “bad” or “good” depending upon the company it keeps; what’s transporting it around the body. Here’s the latest on efforts to keep it—and you—out of harm’s way.  read article

The people's agenda

Elizabeth Nabel, M.D., director of the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, and Rose Marie Robertson, M.D., chief science officer of the American Heart Association and professor of Medicine at Vanderbilt, discuss how public-private partnerships can advance the fight against heart disease and stroke.  read article

Gridlock keeps blood flowing, hearts in check

Gridlock can be a good thing. If you’re talking about cardiovascular development, that is.

In developing zebrafish embryos, a gene and the protein it encodes (both named Gridlock) play key roles in blood vessel formation and heart growth.  read article

Guest Editorial - Douglas E. Vaughan, M.D.

More rapidly, perhaps, than has any other field of medicine, the treatment of heart disease has been transformed by extraordinary advances in basic and clinical science.

One of the best examples of the impact of research is in the management and treatment of patients with acute MI (myocardial infarction, or heart attack).  read article

Stem cell pioneer

On March 11, 2007, John Plummer, a 63-year-old English professor of Vanderbilt University, became the first person in Tennessee to undergo a novel therapy to repair his heart.  read article

Babies at risk

Abnormal heart rhythms may underlie some cases of sudden infant death syndrome.  Now the question is: How should doctors look for them?  read article

When medication is not enough

Andrea Boyce’s heart started racing more than 20 years ago, when she was 17.
“I could… see my heart beating through my skin,” says Boyce, of Owensboro, Ky. “I would get a headache and start sweating and have a pain down my left arm.”  read article

Eugene Braunwald: Maestro Of American Cardiology

Perhaps more than any other academic physician, Eugene Braunwald, M.D., has made a huge imprint on current understanding and treatment of heart disease. But his true genius may be the ability to embrace the symphony of tones, harmonies and processes that are the beating heart.  read article

New views of heart disease

Advances in imaging techniques over the past five years have vastly improved the ability to diagnose and treat cardiac disease, but that’s just the beginning.  read article

How to tell if you’re at risk

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) defines obesity according to body mass index (BMI), which is calculated from a person’s weight and height. If you’re an adult and your BMI is between 25 and 29.9, you are considered to be overweight. You are considered to be obese if your BMI is 30 or higher. To calculate your BMI, go to and search for “body mass index.”

Type 2 diabetes, formerly called adult-onset diabetes or noninsulin-dependent diabetes, is the most common form of the disease. Symptoms can include excessive thirst, frequent urination, hunger, fatigue, unexplained weight loss, sores that heal slowly, dry and itchy skin, tingling or loss of feeling in your feet and blurry eyesight. For more information, visit the National Diabetes Education Program at  read article

The importance of knowing your numbers

Despite recent medical advances, African-Americans remain disproportionately affected by cardiovascular disease. What’s responsible?  Genetics, socioeconomic status and lifestyle all play a role, yet the problem remains “mind-bogglingly complex,” says David Schlundt, Ph.D., associate professor of Psychology at Vanderbilt University.  read article

Two sides of omentum

Tissue that surrounds the abdominal organs—the omentum and its overlying layer of mesothelium—could provide a promising source of stem or progenitor cells for heart repair therapies.  read article

Science of the soldier’s heart

Research at Vanderbilt University Medical Center illustrates how the study of a relatively rare condition, euphemistically called “soldier’s heart,” can help advance an entire field.  read article

From auto parts to cell parts

Jack Roberts, internationally known for his research on free radicals, wasn’t supposed to become a scientist. After college, he planned to run the family auto parts businesses. But then he took physiology from “Doc” Rogers, and the course of his life was changed forever.  read article