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UTSA scientists win $1.8 million to study ‘artery curling’
by Wendy Rigby / KENS 5 A team of researchers at the University of Texas at San Antonio has been awarded a $1.8 million grant from the National Institutes of Health. That money will be used to help study a common condition called artery curling.
By: Novi Vein
A team of researchers at the University of Texas at San Antonio has been awarded a $1.8 million grant from the National Institutes of Health. That money will be used to help study a common condition called artery curling.
UTSA scientists led by Hai-Chao Han, Ph.D. think they might be onto something big. They’re pinpointing the reasons blood vessels twist and turn. It’s a phenomenon known as artery curling or tortuosity.
“Arteries become abnormal,” explained Han, a biomedical engineer. “That can cause the blood flow to be affected. If it’s severe, it can generate a kin so this can even stop blood flow.”
Part of the work in the Cardiovascular Biomechanics Lab at UTSA involves manipulating vessels to make them curl and twist. The researchers use arteries from pigs, a byproduct of a slaughterhouse. They’ve designed a machine that mimics what happens in the body over time.
Computer models help them figure out how the cells in the walls of the artery are changing. “Once we can prove that, then we can find out some technique to treat it,” Han said. “Because if you know how it develops, then you can somehow intervene at even an early stage or a later stage.”
The twisting and curling can affect all sizes of vessels, from tiny micro vessels all the way up to the aorta. Finding a new treatment for varicose veins and twisted arteries could be important in battling one of America’s leading causes of death: heart disease.
After the five-year study, Han plans to publish his results. He’s hopeful his team will help discover new ways to treat a condition that may affect up to 40% of people in their lifetime.
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