Setting sights on heart treatment

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OPTICAL technology developed at Durham University for the world’s largest telescope is being used for heart research.

The adaptive optics technology, demonstrated at the British Science Festival in the North East, will allow astronomers to improve the quality of images obtained by the European Extremely Large Telescope (E-ELT) and is also being used for a research project, Beating Hearts at High Resolution.

This involves two of Durham’s Research Institutes, the Wolfson Research Institute for Health and Wellbeing and Biophysical Sciences Institute (BSI).

It aims to improve understanding the human heart and develop better drugs and treatments, concentrating research on hearts of zebra fish.

The fish are used because their bodies are transparent, so the team can see what is happening to the organ and their hearts can repair themselves, unlike humans.