University Creates Beating Heart in Lab

We can save human lives, but can we stop cow burps from destroying the planet?

Inebriated Press
January 25, 2008

Using a process called whole organ decellularization, scientists from the University of Minnesota Center for Cardiovascular Repair have successfully grown functioning heart tissue.  And a Swedish university received funding so they can measure the greenhouse gases released when cows belch.  Fear of heart disease and greenhouse gases continue to grip the planet.

“We’ve been replacing hearts and now we can grow them in labs and that’s good for guys like me, with the risk of heart disease,” said Buddy Lane, a friendly guy who likes to say ‘hi’ to people when walking down the street.  “It’s the darn cows that have me worried.  They burp and fart and have almost made the earth too hot to live on.  Sure it’s below zero outside right now, but this is the Midwest so we’re probably the last to feel the impending disaster.  The coasts always get everything before we do.”

Not everyone is worried about global warming, but do like the new heart repair potential.  “Greenhouse gas is 95% water vapor so we aren’t going to change the worlds climate no matter how many cows we stop from burping, or how many light bulbs we turn off,” said Joy Warbler, a gorgeous singing seamstress known to cause hearts to skip a beat among men of all ages.  “The ability to fix a persons heart with materials we grow and develop in a lab is a real science that’s worth funding.  Goofy Swedes and their cow gas.”

Scientists from the University of Minnesota grew functioning heart tissue by taking dead rat and pig hearts and reseeding them with a mixture of live cells.  Decellularization is the process of removing all of the cells from an organ – in this case an animal cadaver heart – leaving only the extracellular matrix, the framework between the cells, intact.  The idea is to develop transplantable blood vessels or whole organs that are made from our own cells that will mesh perfectly with our body and won’t be rejected.  The research is published online in Nature Medicine.  Meanwhile, the Swedish University for Agricultural Sciences in Uppsala received $590,000 in research funds to measure greenhouse gases from burping cows.  Cattle release methane, a greenhouse gas believed to contribute to global warming, when they digest their food.  Twenty cows will participate in the project and will have different diets and wear collar devices measuring the methane level in the air around them.

In other news, BBC reports that two women who claim they were sexually abused by leading Swedish politicians in the 1970s when working as under-age prostitutes are demanding that the state compensate them for the alleged abuse.  According to Sweden’s Sex Purchase Law – the Sexkopslagen – it is a crime to pay for sex, though selling sex remains legal.  Word has it that it’s currently illegal for cows to burp in Sweden, but it is not illegal to measure how much.

(C) 2008

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