Page last updated at 17:40 GMT, Monday, 15 February 2010

Images from inside the heart

The British Heart Foundation (BHF) has announced the winners of its "Reflections of Research" competition.

Scientists across the UK submitted videos which represented their field of research. The images show the variety of pioneering work that is helping unearth new ways to tackle heart and circulatory disease.



Watch how blood flows in a healthy human heart

This winning image was created using data from cutting edge scans. The blood streams are shown in slow motion and gradually rotated. They are coloured to highlight where the blood has come from.

Blues show flow through the right side of the heart towards the lungs. Yellow and red show flow through the left side of the heart, from the lungs to the body.

In the future, doctors may be able to use this and other types of imaging to help simulate the movements and flow of an individual patient's heart.

Video by: Dr Michael Markl from the University of Freiburg, Germany and Dr Philip Kilner, Imperial College, London.



See how particles of debris travel through the bloodstream

This runner-up video shows how particles of debris travel through the bloodstream in replica arteries.

Cerebral emboli are small pieces of debris that detach from the insides of diseased arteries and travel through the bloodstream to become lodged in the brain. Emboli can have deadly consequences and are a leading cause of stroke.

These studies provide crucial information for developing 'virtual patient' computer simulations which could help doctors to monitor people at risk of stroke.

Video by: Dr Emma Chung, University of Leicester.



Watch how cells communicate to co-ordinate the beating of the heart

This runner-up video shows how the junctions between heart muscles are organised in healthy and diseased tissue.

Special junctions in the membrane allow the muscle cells to communicate with each other with chemical, electrical and mechanical signals. This communication is vital for co-ordinating the beating of the heart.

Video by: Dr Pauline Bennett and Dr Amanda Wilson, King's College, London.

See more images on the British Heart Foundation website

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