Medical Research Council - London Institute of Medical Sciences

Now in our 7th year of bringing you beautiful imagery from biomedical science every day

The Broken Heart
30 August 2013

The Broken Heart

Rather than being a symbol of love, a heart should be the symbol of life. Its pump-action keeps us alive, and more than a quarter of all deaths in the UK are due to heart attacks and other circulatory diseases. This striking picture – a winner of this year’s British Heart Foundation Reflections of Research awards – is a three-dimensional view of an adult mouse heart, produced using a technique called optical projection tomography (OPT). Similar to the way that a CT scan uses layers of X-rays to build up a 3D image of the body, OPT builds up pictures with light beams. The technology gives researchers a new view of healthy and diseased hearts, exposing them in exquisite detail. It’s enabling scientists to measure the amount of damage heart muscles sustain after a heart attack, illuminating what goes wrong during heart disease and revealing ways to fix it.

Written by Kat Arney

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BPoD stands for Biomedical Picture of the Day. Managed by the MRC London Institute of Medical Sciences the website aims to engage everyone, young and old, in the wonders of biomedicine. Images are kindly provided for inclusion on this website through the generosity of scientists across the globe.

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