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Gel that repairs heart attack damage could improve health of millions | Heart attack

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British researchers have developed a biodegradable gel to repair damage caused by a heart attack in a breakthrough that could improve the health of millions of survivors worldwide.

There are more than 100,000 hospital admissions every year due to heart attacks in the UK alone – one every five minutes. Medical advances mean more people than ever before survive, with 1.4 million Britons alive today after experiencing a heart attack. But hearts have a very limited ability to regenerate, meaning survivors are left at risk of heart failure and other health problems.

Now after years of efforts searching for solutions to help the heart repair itself, researchers at the University of Manchester have created a gel that can be injected directly into the beating heart – effectively working as a scaffold to help injected cells grow new tissue.

Until now, when cells have been injected into the heart to reduce the risk of heart failure, only 1% have stayed in place and survived. But the gel can hold them in place as they graft on to the heart.

“While it’s still early days, the potential this new technology has in helping to repair failing hearts after a heart attack is huge,” said Katharine King, who led the research backed by the British Heart Foundation (BHF). “We’re confident that this gel will be an effective option for future cell-based therapies to help the damaged heart to regenerate.

To prove the technology could work, researchers showed the gel can support growth of normal heart muscle tissue. When they added human cells reprogrammed to become heart muscle cells into the gel, they were able to grow in a dish for three weeks and the cells started to spontaneously beat.

Echocardiograms (ultrasounds of the heart) and electrocardiograms (ECGs, which measure the electrical activity of the heart) on mice confirmed the safety of the gel. To gain more knowledge, researchers will test the gel after mice have a heart attack to show they develop new muscle tissue.

The study is being presented at the British Cardiovascular Society conference in Manchester.

Prof James Leiper, an associate medical director at the BHF, said: “We’ve come so far in our ability to treat heart attacks and today more people than ever survive. However, this also means that more people are surviving with damaged hearts and are at risk of developing heart failure.

“This new injectable technology harnesses the natural properties of peptides to potentially solve one of the problems that has hindered this type of therapy for years. If the benefits are replicated in further research and then in patients, these gels could become a significant component of future treatments to repair the damage caused by heart attacks.”

Separate research being presented at the same conference found that obesity can drive hearts to fail and weaken their structure.

The largest study of its kind on 490,000 people found that those with a higher body mass index (BMI) and waist-to-hip ratio had about a 30% increased risk of heart failure. This risk occurred regardless of other risks for heart failure such as diabetes, high blood pressure and high cholesterol.

Dr Zahra Raisi-Estabragh, from Queen Mary University of London, who supervised the study, said: “We already know that obesity increases the risk of heart and circulatory diseases that can go on to cause heart failure. But now we have revealed that obesity itself could be a driver of hearts starting to fail.”

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Kevin Durant, Nets beat Raptors to tally fourth win in a row

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Make it four in a row and seven of their last nine.

The Nets are one of the hottest teams in basketball and moved two games above .500 with a 114-105 victory over the Toronto Raptors in front of a sellout 17,732 fans at Barclays Center on Friday night.

They led by as many as 36 points before letting the Raptors creep back into the game late in the fourth quarter.

After digging a 2-6 hole to start the season, the Nets (13-11) have pulled a complete 180. They are inching closer toward contender status, though they still have tremendous ground to cover separating themselves from the cream of the NBA crop.

And it both looks and feels different when the Nets aren’t leaning too heavily on Kevin Durant — or Kyrie Irving, as they did for unending stretches last season.

Durant’s minutes have become a point of contention in Brooklyn, as they were last year. He entered Friday’s matchup as the league’s leader in minutes, points and field goals. At age 34 and in year 15, the Nets star is averaging 37 minutes per game for the second consecutive season.

“We’ve had to play Kevin more minutes than we’ve wanted to,” head coach Jacque Vaughn said ahead of tipoff. “That’s just kind of where we are. He understands that.”

It hits different, though, when Durant has help, and it reflects on the scoreboard.

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Sharpshooter Joe Harris got hot early, scoring 11 points in the first quarter alone. After breaking out of his shooting slump to hit four out of six threes in Wednesday’s win over the Washington Wizards, Harris, who is starting in place of the injured Ben Simmons (calf strain), hit another five threes for 17 points against the Raptors on Friday.

Royce O’Neale hit a trio of timely threes, and Kyrie Irving shouldered a large chunk of the scoring load, scoring 27 points on 17 shot attempts. Veteran forward TJ Warren, in his Nets debut after missing two-plus seasons with consecutive stress fractures in his left foot, scored 10 points on 5-of-11 shooting off the bench.

And Nic Claxton added 15 points and nine rebounds, sealing the game with a putback dunk, then offensive rebound and finish that extended the Nets’ lead back to 16.

He forced Raptors coach Nick Nurse to call his second to last timeout with four minutes left in the fourth.

It was Durant’s lightest workload of the season. He still played 38 minutes but they were low impact. He only took 10 shots and finished with 17 points, nine rebounds and seven assists.

The Nets built a lead as large as 36 and watched the Raptors whittle the deficit down to as little as seven in the final minute of the fourth quarter. It wasn’t a pretty finish but nothing has come easy for the Nets this season.

They have a chance to make it five in a row on Sunday, though they’ll have to go through last year’s Eastern Conference champion Boston Celtics to get there.

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Fourth child dies in UK after contracting Strep A infection | UK news

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A fourth child has died in the UK after contracting Strep A, as health officials issued warnings to parents and school staff about signs and symptoms of infection.

These include a sore throat, fever and minor skin infections. In rare incidences, it can become a severe illness, and anyone with high fever, severe muscle aches, pain in one area of the body and unexplained vomiting or diarrhoea should seek urgent medical help.

On Friday, the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) confirmed that a child who attended St John’s primary school in Ealing, west London, had died from the bacterial infection, while it also emerged that the parents of a four-year-old boy from Buckinghamshire have said he has died from Strep A.

Shabana Kousar, the mother of Muhammad Ibrahim Ali, who attended the Oakridge school and nursery in High Wycombe, told the Bucks Free Press: “The loss is great and nothing will replace that. He was very helpful around the house and quite adventurous, he loved exploring and enjoyed the forest school, his best day was a Monday and [he] said how Monday was the best day of the week.

“He also had a very close bond with his dad. He was his best friend and went everywhere with him. He just wanted to be with him.”

A pupil from Victoria primary school in Penarth, four miles south of Cardiff, has also died from the infection. A six-year-old died last week after an outbreak of the same infection at a school in Surrey.

Health officials are understood to have reported a slight rise recently in cases of Strep A, which can cause scarlet fever, although deaths and serious complications from the infection are rare.

Dr Yimmy Chow, a health protection consultant at UKHSA, said of the Ealing case: “We are extremely saddened to hear about the death of a child at St John’s primary school, and our thoughts are with their family, friends and the school community. Working with Ealing council public health team, we have provided precautionary advice to the school community to help prevent further cases and we continue to monitor the situation closely.

“Group A streptococcal infections usually result in mild illness, and information has been shared with parents and staff about the signs and symptoms. These include a sore throat, fever and minor skin infections and can be treated with a full course of antibiotics from the GP.

“In rare incidences, it can be a severe illness and anyone with high fever, severe muscle aches, pain in one area of the body and unexplained vomiting or diarrhoea should call NHS 111 and seek medical help immediately.”

Group A streptococcal bacteria can cause many different infections, ranging from minor illnesses to deadly diseases. Scarlet fever is caused by Strep A and mostly affects young children but is easily treated with antibiotics.

According to the NHS, the first signs of scarlet fever can be flu-like symptoms including a high temperature, sore throat and swollen neck glands. A rash appears 12 to 48 hours later that starts on the chest and stomach and then spreads. A white coating appears on the tongue, which peels, leaving the tongue red, swollen and covered in small bumps (often called “strawberry tongue”).

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Mets’ free agent Jacob deGrom inks $185 million deal with Rangers

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Jacob deGrom’s time as a Met is now over. The Texas Rangers announced Friday night that they have signed deGrom to a five-year $185 million contract.

The $37 million AAV is the second highest in baseball behind Max Scherzer.

deGrom spent nine seasons with the Mets compiling a 2.52 ERA and 1607 strikeouts in 209 starts while winning the NL CY Young in 2018 and 2019.

Mets’ owner Steve Cohen released a brief statement to SNY:

“I wish him well. He has the right to choose his team. Now this team has to move on to the next thing.”

This is a developing story. Check back for details.

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