Jul 23, 2010 2:11 PM by Bea Karnes, News First 5

Hibernating bears studied for heart health

Grizzly bears often have 50% body fat and they sleep half the year. So why are their hearts so healthy?

Researchers at Washington State University are trying to figure it out.

During hibernation, bears have extremely low heart rates and can even turn off two of the four heart chambers. They don't suffer heart attacks and have no hardening of the arteries or circulation issues during this time.

Scientists hope to understand how bears' natural adaptations during hibernation might benefit people with heart disease.



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