This heart beats for science

The human heart: wellspring of emotion? Symbol of love? Centre of the soul? Or complex double pump system, responsible for sending fuel for cells throughout our bodies?

The human heart: wellspring of emotion, symbol of love, centre of the soul.

Or a complex double pump system, responsible for sending oxygen-rich blood – fuel for cells – throughout our bodies.

It depends on how you look at it.

Looking at the heart – and other parts of the body – is exactly what Engineering’s Mike Noseworthy is all about.

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Mike Noseworthy’s beating heart

The medical imaging expert specializes in assessing normal and diseased tissue microstructure using magnetic resonance imaging (MRI).

He’s currently part of a Canada-wide project using cardiac, brain and liver imaging to analyze the myocardial health of approximately 11,000 people.

For Valentine’s Day, we asked Noseworthy to share an image of what the human heart really looks like – but he went a step further, and sent us MRI video of his own, beating heart.

Read: Collision Course: A Spectator report on the science of hard head knocks

It’s not nearly as romantic as portrayed by the greeting card companies, but it does allow you to see an organ you usually only feel.

The heart is approximately the size of a clenched fist, and sits in the chest cavity between the two lungs.

It’s divided into four chambers, and subdivided into upper and lower chambers. The right side is responsible for pumping blood to the lungs, where it picks up oxygen before returning to the left side of the heart, which pumps the blood to the rest of the body.


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