More than 500 years ago, Leonardo da Vinci, in his anatomical studies, discovered a filigree of muscle fibers on the inside of the heart. This intricate mesh of fibers was thought by da Vinci to warm blood as it passed through the heart. However, modern physiologists have been puzzled as to what the purpose of these fibers truly is. During embryonic development, the trabeculae appear to assist in providing the developing heart with plentiful amounts of oxygen, but if they served a purpose in adults, it was unknown.
Now modern science has provided an answer. An international research team and an artificial intelligence algorithm surveyed data from thousands of heart MRIs, and it appears that the roughening of inside heart surface provided by the trabeculae help to increase blood flow in a way similar to how dimples in a golf ball reduce air drag. The patterns of trabeculae appear to be fractal in nature, and the genes that code for them have been found. In people who have more complex trabecular branching, the chances of heart failure appear to be lower.
We are just starting to learn about these structures and what they are responsible
for. They may lead to strategies for improvement of heart health. But the patterns they form are beautiful and fascinating, something that can be appreciated as the esthetics of nature. No doubt, da Vinci the artist and da Vinci the scientist was drawn to the trabeculae for both reasons: the recording of nature, and the beauty of their pattern. Now we know more about why they’re there.
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Top Comments (September 9, 2020):
From peregrine kate:
Love this comment by PittsburghLiberal, discussing all the observable changes in their area. PA is going to go for Biden, just as MI will. Too many of us have been galvanized by 2016 and what has come after. (To which this editor, from PA, can only say, you bet your ass we’re delivering the state for Biden!)
From someone who neglected to give their username:
I dunno, hopeful in the apocalypse or something… I’m sure this guy would have been within line of sight from my house. Anyway, a photo comment from Sam Sinister:
Top Mojo (September 8, 2020):
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Top Photos (September 8, 2020):
Tonight’s picture quilt is courtesy of jotter!