An unborn baby’s heart starts beating as soon as 16 days after conception, a study finds.
The researchers at the University of Oxford hope the new information will help scientists figure out how to prevent heart conditions in unborn babies that arise as they develop in the womb, and to gain a better understanding of heart attacks.
“By finding out how the heart first starts to beat and how problems can arise in heart development, we are one step closer to being able to prevent heart conditions from arising during pregnancy,” lead researcher Paul Riley told The Daily Mail. “We also hope that this new research will help us learn how the beating of new heart muscle cells might be triggered in replaced muscle after a heart attack. ”
Researchers previously thought that number was around 21 days after conception, based on a study of conception in mice. But the Oxford team used a study on mice embryos to demonstrate that the heart — developed 7.5 days after conception — begins beating in an earlier stage of development.
In most states, unborn babies are legally allowed to be aborted until they are 168 days old, and in other states, there are no restrictions on late-term abortion.
“Such fundamental research is vital in understanding and ultimately preventing diseases that affect the heart,” added Professor Sir Nilesh Samani, a medical director at an organization that funded the study.
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