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NLM to Convene Symposium for Texas High School Science Students

When was the first heart transplanted in a human? What does an artificial heart look like? Once implanted, is an artificial heart permanent? What does the space program have to do with artificial organs? Can an artificial gill allow humans to live like fish? A bear can live for long periods of time without kidneys. Can a human? What are the physical obstacles for using artificial organs?

The answers to these and other questions about organ and transplant research will be heard at an upcoming symposium, the Michael E. DeBakey* Seminar in Medicine, Thursday, December 6, 2007, at the Texas Medical Center's Edwin Hornberger Conference Center, Houston, TX, from 9:00 a.m. to 2:45 p.m. This is the fifth in a series of seminars to be convened by NIH's National Library of Medicine. Washington, DC, Chicago, IL, and New York City hosted previous seminars.

"Developments and advances are occurring at incredible speed--all directed toward improving human health and the quality of life," noted Donald A.B. Lindberg, M.D,. Director of the National Library of Medicine, a part of the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, MD. He added, "I know that the presentations you hear today will kindle even greater interest, and I can ensure an exciting and fulfilling career to those who pursue this interest."

The seminar will bring together top scientists and medical doctors in cardiac surgery and the organ and transplant field to discuss and demonstrate the latest advances in research. About 500 high school science students, invited from the Houston Metropolitan area, will be able to ask questions of the speakers following their individual presentations and explore exhibits featuring artificial body parts and the latest examples of medical breakthroughs. They will be able to see and touch heart stents, pacemakers, oxygenators (old and new), a coronary artery bypass graft and photo of DeBakey performing surgery, hearing aids (old and new), and the original DeBakey intravenous roller pump (1935) which led to the concept of the first heart-lung machine.

*This symposium series, sponsored by the world's largest medical library, honors Dr. Michael E. DeBakey, an internationally recognized and respected physician and surgeon noted for his pioneering work in the field of cardiovascular surgery. Dacron pumps, arterial bypass operations, artificial hearts, heart pumps and heart transplants are common features of today's medicine.