Scientists have been transported into a world of cell activity currently beyond the scope of imaging technology thanks to a breakthrough in the study of the human heart.
What we perceive as the beating of our heart is actually the co-ordinated action of more than a billion muscle cells. Most of the time, only the muscle cells from the larger heart chambers contract and relax.
However, when the heart needs to work harder it relies on backup from the atrial muscle cells deep within the smaller chambers (atria) of the heart.
The health of these 'high-performance' atrial cells relies on specific concentrations of cellular calcium.
Now, for the first time, scientists at The University of Nottingham have produced a mathematical model of calcium activity within the atrial heart cell which will significantly improve our chances of treating heart disease and stroke.
Their findings have just been published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.