Biological process for irregular heartbeat discovered

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Posted: Tuesday, January 21, 2014 10:28 am | Updated: 10:35 am, Tue Jan 21, 2014.

Researchers from Canada have pinpointed the exact process believed to cause heart arrhythmias.

It was previously known that calcium overload in the heart could cause heart arrhythmias, an irregular heartbeat that can lead to fainting, dizziness, or even cardiac arrest. But by studying genetically engineered mice, researchers found a gate in the heart which allows calcium waves to come into the heart. After identifying they were able to stop the waves from coming in.

"The calcium-sensing- gate mechanism discovered here is an entirely novel concept with potential to shift our general understanding of ion channel gating, cardiac arrhythmogenesis, and the treatment of calcium-triggered arrhythmias," senior study author Wayne Chen, PhD, was quoted as saying. "These findings open a new chapter of calcium signaling and the discovery fosters the possibilities of new drug interventions."

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