The Exquisite Machine: The New Science of the Heart
How science is opening up the mysteries of the heart, revealing the poetry in motion within the machine.
Your heart is a miracle in motion, a marvel of construction unsurpassed by any human-made creation. It beats 100,000 times every day—if you were to live to 100, that would be more than 3 billion beats across your lifespan. Despite decades of effort in labs all over the world, we have not yet been able to replicate the heart’s perfect engineering. But, as Sian Harding shows us in The Exquisite Machine, new scientific developments are opening up the mysteries of the heart. And this explosion of new science—ultrafast imaging, gene editing, stem cells, artificial intelligence, and advanced sub-light microscopy—has crucial, real-world consequences for health and well-being.
Harding—a world leader in cardiac research—explores the relation between the emotions and heart function, reporting that the heart not only responds to our emotions, it creates them as well. The condition known as Broken Heart Syndrome, for example, is a real disorder than can follow bereavement or stress. The Exquisite Machine describes the evolutionary forces that have shaped the heart’s response to damage, the astonishing rejuvenating power of stem cells, how we can avoid heart disease, and why it can be so hard to repair a damaged heart. It tells the stories of patients who have had the devastating experiences of a heart attack, chaotic heart rhythms, or stress-induced acute heart failure. And it describes how cutting-edge technologies are enabling experiments and clinical trials that will lead us to new solutions to the worldwide scourge of heart disease.
Praise for The Exquisite Machine: The New Science of the Heart
"The idea of the heart as a red cartoon bubble holding our emotions is one we generally let go of in childhood. We learn that the heart is just a bloody machine. The mind is where we feel things. But there’s truth in that elementary-school version of the heart, too, says Sian Harding, an emeritus professor of cardiac pharmacology at the National Heart and Lung Institute at Imperial College London. In her new book, The Exquisite Machine: The New Science of the Heart, the heart researcher argues that this organ is deeply linked to our emotions. That connection can kill you. It can also help keep you alive...Harding wrote her book because she wants people to know that our blood-pumping organ and its impressive tricks deserve all our cartoon-heart emoji."
—The Boston Globe