February 2022

Science Care newsletter

February is American Heart Month

February is American Heart Month

February is American Heart Month.  But it’s such an important topic, it deserves more than 28 days of attention.  According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, heart disease is the leading cause of death in the United States.  And, in the US, someone has a heart attack every 40 seconds! Fortunately, there are many ways you can reduce your risk of heart disease through diet, activity, and daily lifestyle changes.  The benefits of these quick tips can quickly add up and help you focus on heart health throughout February and year-round!

Eat healthy fats and avoid trans fats: Fat is necessary for a healthy diet, but not all fats are created equal.  It’s important to look for healthy ones like polyunsaturated, saturated, and unsaturated fats. Trans fat is the kind that can increase levels of LDL cholesterol in the bloodstream.  LDL are considered negative cholesterol that can build up in the bloodstream and lower positive HDL cholesterol levels.  To incorporate healthy fats in your meals, opt for “loin” cuts of meats; bake, broil, lightly sauté, stir-fry, or roast foods in olive oil or nut oils; and experiment with adding chia seeds, flaxseeds, and nuts to salads and snacks.

Opt for reduced sodium: Having too much sodium makes the body hold on to excess fluid, which increases blood pressure and adds extra strain on the heart.  Based on this, the simple act of choosing reduced sodium versions of packaged foods can go a long way to improving heart health.  Select low or no-sodium soups, canned goods, and other prepared foods.  Cook with spices rather than salt to reduce sodium in homemade cooking.  And check nutrition labels and opt for foods with lower sodium counts. Keep in mind the American Heart Association recommends no more than 2,300 milligrams of sodium per day!

Focus on omega-3 fatty acids: These powerful nutrients are found in many common foods, and they deliver health benefits across the board, from fighting depression and anxiety, to improving eye health, to reducing symptoms of ADHD in children.  For heart health, they perhaps produce the biggest bang by:

• Reducing triglycerides and blood pressure

• Increasing “good” HDL cholesterol

• Preventing blood clots

• Reducing plaque

• Decreasing inflammation

To add more omega-3 fatty acids to your diet, seek out fish like salmon, albacore tuna (with water), mackerel, trout, and sardines, or plant-based products like walnuts, almonds, soybeans, chia seeds, hemp seeds, and flaxseeds.

Get your fruits and veggies: This is always a healthy-eating go-to tip, as fruits and vegetables are good for you across the board.  In terms of heart health, both fruits and vegetables are high in potassium and other nutrients that can lower blood pressure and prevent cardiovascular disease.  Also, eating more fruits and vegetables can “fill you up”, making you less inclined to eat foods that are not as beneficial, such as meat, cheeses, and sugary snacks.

Plan, plan, plan: Too often, we find ourselves tired from a long day or pressed for time with busy schedules, and we opt for quick, unhealthy meals or snacks on the run.  To offset this, a little planning can go a long way for heart health.  Aim to spend some time on the weekends preparing vegetables, lean proteins, and whole grains to either grab as snacks or to reheat throughout the week.  Stock up on pantry staples so that you can make healthy meals quickly.  Also, prepare a grocery list for the week. Having a plan helps you stay on track and balance your meals.

Focusing on your heart health can be a lifesaver in February and year-round.  And it’s never too late to implement these tips.  Remember, every action counts!

Information Source: https://www.denverymca.org/blog/5-quick-tips-healthy-heart-heart

Science Care Donors Are Making a Difference

Science Care Donors Are Making a Difference

The medical research and education supported by the generosity of our donors is helping more and more people survive heart disease, stroke, and improve their overall quality of life!

Our program has been able to link donors with top researchers and institutions who continue to advance technology and medicine to provide safer and more effective prevention and treatment options. Some of the projects our program has recently been able to support include, but are not limited to:

  • Development of both medical devices and prosthetic anatomy intended to improve the overall functionality of the heart and circulatory system in patients suffering from heart and vascular disease.
  • Development of devices to increase the functionality of damaged chordae tendineae in patients. The chordae tendineae work as a suspension system within the heart organ; the primary functions of this system are to maintain position and tension of valves and muscles to prevent valves from opening/allowing blood to flow in the wrong direction.
  • Development of more accurate and precise methods of sizing aortic valves specific to an individual patient’s needs. Precision in sizing is crucial in the long-term survival and functionality of aortic valve replacements. Additionally, prosthetic mitral valves and aortic arches are being developed for implantation into patients whose own anatomy are so compromised from disease that these anatomical structures require replacement to facilitate a longer, healthier life.
  • Development of devices to be utilized in the performance of atherectomy to provide better means of removing plaque from blood vessels to increase/produce proper blood flow in patients suffering from plaque buildup throughout the circulatory system vascular system.
  • Development of therapies intended to strengthen the walls of saphenous veins of the legs. Chronic venous insufficiency tends to allow for collection of blood within the veins rather than allowing blood to return to the heart as it normally would, resulting in life threatening vascular diseases. Strengthening the walls of veins allows for a more natural, efficient flow of blood.

24 Fun Facts About the Heart You Probably Didn’t Know

24 Fun Facts About the Heart You Probably Didn’t Know

The heart is part of your body’s circulatory system.  It’s made up of the atria, ventricles, valves, and various arteries and veins.  The main function of your heart is to keep blood that’s full of oxygen circulating throughout your body.  Because your heart is crucial to your survival, it’s important to keep it healthy with a well-balanced diet and exercise, and avoid things that can damage it, like smoking.

While you’re probably familiar with a few heart-healthy tips, there are some fun facts about the heart that you may not know:

  1. The average heart is the size of a fist in an adult.
  2. Your heart will beat about 115,000 times each day.
  3. Your heart pumps about 2,000 gallons of blood every day.
  4. An electrical system controls the rhythm of your heart. It’s called the cardiac conduction system.
  5. The heart can continue beating even when it’s disconnected from the body.
  6. The first open-heart surgery occurred in 1893.  It was performed by Daniel Hale Williams, who was one of the few black cardiologists in the United States at the time.
  7. The first implantable pacemaker was used in 1958.  Arne Larsson, who received the pacemaker, lived longer than the surgeon who implanted it.  Larsson died at 86 of a disease that was unrelated to his heart.
  8. The youngest person to receive heart surgery was only a minute old. She had a heart defect that many babies don’t survive.  Her surgery was successful, but she’ll eventually need a heart transplant.
  9. The earliest known case of heart disease was identified in the remains of a 3,500-year-old Egyptian mummy.
  10. The fairy fly, which is a kind of wasp, has the smallest heart of any living creature.
  11. The American pygmy shrew is the smallest mammal, but it has the fastest heartbeat at 1,200 beats per minute.
  12. Whales have the largest heart of any mammal.
  13. The giraffe has a lopsided heart, with their left ventricle being thicker than the right. This is because the left side has to get blood up the giraffe’s long neck to reach their brain.
  14. Most heart attacks happen on a Monday.
  15. Christmas Day is the most common day of the year for heart attacks to happen.
  16. The human heart weighs less than 1 pound.  However, a man’s heart, on average, is 2 ounces heavier than a woman’s heart.
  17. A woman’s heart beats slightly faster than a man’s heart.
  18. The beating sound of your heart is caused by the valves of the heart opening and closing.
  19. It’s possible to have a broken heart.  It’s called broken heart syndrome and can have similar symptoms as a heart attack.  The difference is that a heart attack is from heart disease and broken heart syndrome is caused by a rush of stress hormones from an emotional or physical stress event.
  20. Death from a broken heart, or broken heart syndrome, is possible but extremely rare.
  21. The iconic heart shape as a symbol of love is traditionally thought to come from the silphium plant, which was used as an ancient form of birth control.
  22. If you were to stretch out your blood vessel system, it would extend over 60,000 miles.
  23. Heart cells stop dividing, which means heart cancer is extremely rare.
  24. Laughing is good for your heart.  It reduces stress and gives a boost to your immune system.

The Takeaway:  Your heart affects every part of your body.  That also means that diet, lifestyle, and your emotional well-being can affect your heart.  Emotional and physical health are both important for maintaining a healthy heart.

Information Source: https://www.healthline.com/health/fun-facts-about-the-heart

National Donor Day

National Donor Day

February 14th isn’t just about flowers and heart shaped boxes of chocolates.  February 14th was National Donor Day.  National Donor Day is a day to focus on all types of donations – organ, eye, tissue, blood, platelets, and of course, donations like those who donate with Science Care.  It was also a day to appreciate our donors and loved ones who have given the gift of life, have received a donation, or are currently waiting.

The gift of donation touches every part of our lives, the lives of our loved ones, and the lives of all future generations.  Donation is the gift that lives on in us all.

Non-Transplant Donation and Organ Donation Comparison

Non-Transplant Donation and Organ Donation Comparison

Did you know you can register your intent to donate for BOTH non-transplant donation and organ donation?  Science Care always encourages life-saving donation prior to body donation to science.  You will need to register for both programs separately and let your loved ones know of your wish to donate to both organizations.

For more information about Non-Transplant Organ Donation and Organ and Tissue Donation Visit us at: https://www.sciencecare.com/organ-donation-save-lives

Heart Healthy Pasta

Heart Healthy Pasta

Eating healthy doesn’t mean eating boring.  This dish is an easy way to turn grilled vegetables into a satisfying meal, thanks to hearty whole-grain pasta and a quick homemade pesto.


  • 2 cups fresh basil leaves
  • ¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • ¼ cup chopped toasted walnuts
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • ½ teaspoon salt, divided
  • ¼ teaspoon ground pepper, divided
  • ¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil plus 2 Tbsp., divided
  • 3 portobello mushroom caps stemmed, gills removed
  • 2 medium bell peppers (red, orange, and/or yellow), quartered
  • 1 medium yellow summer squash, trimmed and cut into 1/2-inch-thick planks
  • 5 scallions, trimmed
  • 4 ounces whole-wheat penne pasta (1 1/2 cups)
  • 2 cups zucchini "noodles" (6 oz.)
  • ⅓ cup low-sodium canned cannellini beans, rinsed

Step 1

Preheat grill to medium-high.  Bring a large pot of water to a boil.  Combine basil, Parmesan, walnuts, garlic, 1/4 tsp. salt, and 1/8 tsp. pepper in a food processor; pulse until finely chopped. Slowly pour 1/4 cup oil through the feed tube; continue processing until the mixture is smooth. Transfer to a medium bowl and set aside.

Step 2

Combine Portobello, bell peppers, squash, scallions, and the remaining 2 Tbsp. oil, 1/4 tsp. salt, and 1/8 tsp. pepper in a large bowl; toss to coat.

Step 3

Oil the grill grates (see Tip). Grill the vegetables until tender and lightly charred, 6 to 8 minutes per side.  Remove from the grill and coarsely chop.

Step 4

Cook pasta according to package directions. Add zucchini "noodles" to the pasta during the last 2 minutes of cooking.  Reserve 1/2 cup pasta water before draining.  Drain the pasta and zoodles and place in a large bowl.

Step 5

Whisk 1/4 cup of the reserved pasta water into the pesto. Pour over the pasta and toss to coat, adding more reserved pasta water if needed to loosen the sauce.  Add the grilled vegetables and beans; toss to coat well.


To oil grill grates: Rub an oil-soaked paper towel over the grill grates. Use tongs to hold the paper towel (Do not use cooking spray on a hot grill).

Nutrition Facts

Serving Size: 2 cups

Per Serving: 434 calories; protein 12g; carbohydrates 37g; dietary fiber 8g; sugars 8g; fat 29g; saturated fat 4g; cholesterol 4mg; potassium 926mg; sodium 411mg.

50 years ago this month

50 years ago this month

  • The 1972 Winter Olympics opened in Sapporo, Japan
  • President Nixon makes historic visit to People's Republic of China
  • David Bowie opened his concert tour with his new alter ego of "Ziggy Stardust"

The Billboard top 5 songs for February 1972 were:

  • American Pie (Parts I & II) - Don McLean
  • Let's Stay Together - Al Green
  • Brand New Key - Melanie
  • Day After Day - Badfinger
  • Without You – Nilsson

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50 years ago this month