1. Understanding congenital heart defects to prevent them

    Understanding congenital heart defects to prevent them

    To understand cardiovascular failures, the leading cause of birth defect-related deaths in infants, UH professor of biomedical engineering Kirill Larin is teaming up with Baylor College of Medicine professor of cellular and molecular physiology Irina Larina on a chicken and egg hunt. "When the heart develops, it becomes stiffer as required for ability to contract and pump blood," said Larin. "So the question is - does it become stiff because it's contracting, or is it stiff to begin with because it is genetically predefined?" Surprisingly, very little is known about an embryo's developing heart. "Defining how these mechanical factors ...

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    1. When the heart develops, it becomes stiffer as required for ability to contract and pump blood...So the question is - does it become stiff because it's contracting, or is it stiff to begin with because it is genetically predefined?
    2. One out of every 100 babies in the United States has a congenital heart defect leading to death...Understanding biomechanical regulation of heart development is highly important for better management of congenital heart defects.
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