Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Ghost Body Parts?

Dear Heart Friends:

When I saw the film that talked about developing ghost body parts, but most specifically, ghost hearts, I became very excited! What the scientific community can now do to strip the cells away from an organ and then implant cells from an organ recipient, in order to "grow" them a fully functional organ with their own native tissue so the organ will be completely accepted by the body without the need for immunosuppressant drugs is something out of the annals of science fiction -- and yet it's not. It is actually happening today.

Please go to this link:
to read more about the research being done. On this page there is also a short PBS video (less than 15 minutes) which shows how the scientist created the method of cleaning the donated organ and then implanting the cells from the organ recipient. It is unbelievable. Perhaps the most amazing thing was watching a beating heart in a jar. Amazing.

It is science like this that needs support because with advances like this in science, we could save scores of lives. There are so many people waiting for organs every day who die waiting. If we could use this kind of science -- replication of single organs instead of cloning entire bodies -- then people need not die awaiting a heart. As if that news isn't good enough, it gets even better. In addition to not dying while waiting for a heart, the recipients won't need the strong drugs that are currently needed by organ recipients and there will not be a need for re-transplantation.

The hope that science like this provides is immeasurable. It isn't science fiction. It's science fact and it's magnificent!

Please visit Baby Hearts Press at http://www.babyheartspress.com for resources for the congenital heart defect community.

Thursday, December 12, 2013

One Month Anniversary

December 12, 2013 is the one month anniversary of Heart to Heart with Anna: An Internet Talk Radio Show for the Congenital Heart Defect Community! It hard to believe we've broadcast five shows already! What's even more amazing is that we have such fabulous Guests lined up for next month's shows!

Thanks to Callie Rickard, Heart to Heart with Anna radio show will now have a newsletter to accompany the show! We will be posting the newsletter at the www.hearttoheartwithanna.com website. The newsletter will feature a book review, teasers for upcoming shows and other pertinent news for Heart to Heart with Anna Listeners.

The radio show is Baby Hearts Press' community outreach program. We have worked very hard to make the topics pertinent to the Congenital Heart Defect Community. Please feel free to leave comments on this blog about topics you've enjoyed, would like to hear more of or new topics we haven't discussed yet. We love getting feedback from all of you. It helps us make our show even better.

Happy Holidays, my dear heart friends.


Anna Jaworski
Owner of Baby Hearts Press (www.babyheartspress.com)
Children's Heart Foundation-Texas Chapter Vice President
Adult Congenital Heart Association - Member
Heart to Heart with Anna -- VoiceAmerica Internet Talk Radio show:  http://www.voiceamerica.com/show/2259/heart-to-heart-with-anna

To receive an eCard for Anna's new radio show, go here:  http://eepurl.com/Ietez

Please visit Baby Hearts Press at http://www.babyheartspress.com for resources for the congenital heart defect community.

Monday, December 2, 2013

Prevalence of CHD is Higher than You Think!

Dear Heart Friends:

I am learning a great deal from hosting "Heart to Heart with Anna." I am doing research such as I haven't done since trying to find answers for a friend or doing research for a book. Now the research is to help me ask intelligent questions of my Guests, especially my Expert Guests and to make sure that I am providing the best show possible for my listeners.

So imagine my surprise when I discovered that something that has been taken for granted for almost a decade is wrong, wrong, wrong. It felt like a betrayal, but worse than that, it makes me wonder "why?" and if maybe I can shed some light on a situation that might help the scientific community get more funding for congenital heart defects.

For years we've been saying that 1 in 100 children are born with a congenital heart defect. Oh, there was some dispute but for the most part people believed that heart defects, the most common birth defect, occurred in 1 in 100 babies.

Now I know that's not true.

Dr. D. Woodrow Benson, an Expert Guest on "Heart to Heart with Anna," was one of the key investigators in a study published in 2007 in Circulation that discussed the Genetic Basis for Congenital Heart Defects: Current Knowledge. Circulation 2007; 115 3015-3038. The amazing thing about this article is that on the very first page of the paper the authors stated that ". . . the genetic contribution to CHD has been significantly underestimated in the past." Under Prevalence of CHD I was shocked to discover that ". . . it is estimated that 4 to 10 liveborn infants per 1000 have a cardiac malformation, 40% of which are diagnosed in the first year of life. The true prevalence, however, may be much higher."

Here's what surprised me most, my friends. The article continues with, ". . . For example, bicuspid aortic valve, the most common cardiac malformation, is usually excluded from this estimate. Bicuspid aortic valve is associated with considerable morbidity and mortality later in life and by itself occurs in 10 to 20 per 1000 in the general population. . . " (Bold-facing added in this blog for emphasis by me.)

What?!? The article was published in Circulation -- a scientific journal published by the American Heart Association but the American Heart Association doesn't count bicuspid aortic valve? That article was published in 2007 and yet even today, December 2013, the American Heart Association still doesn't even mention bicuspid aortic valve on the list of common congenital heart defects. American Heart Association: About Congenital Heart Defects

Here's the weird thing -- I belong to a group on Facebook called Heart Mamas and we recently decided to take part in a special project. One mama said she wanted to make ornaments for her Christmas tree and she wanted the ornaments to have our children's name, heart defects, birth dates and locations. I was stunned to see how many mothers listed BAV (bicuspid aortic valve). These mothers knew that bicuspid aortic valves were congenital heart defects . . . why aren't these defects counted in with all of the other congenital heart defects? This would make the percentage of congenital heart defects in the general population FIVE TIMES HIGHER than what we believe the percentage is.

Heart friends, it's time for us to stand up and ask the AHA why they aren't counting BAV and why more dollars aren't being spent to combat congenital heart defects. Heart defects are the number one birth defect. Let's do something to eradicate congenital heart defects - including bicuspid aortic valves!

Please visit Baby Hearts Press at http://www.babyheartspress.com for resources for the congenital heart defect community.