After a heart attack, stem cells in mice are able to grow new heart cells—but only if the attack occurs very early in life.
The Cornell University study shows that stem cells did not create new heart cells in adult mice after a heart attack, settling a decades-old controversy about whether they play a role in the recovery of the adult mammalian heart following infarction—the leading cause of sudden death in the developed world—where heart tissue dies due to artery blockage.
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