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Sam McNeil / AP

A Stanford professor and heart surgeon has completed a proof-of-concept study showcasing the potential for photosynthetic cyanobacteria to treat the complications of heart attacks, per Smithsonian Magazine.

The traditional treatment: During a heart attack, heart tissue rapidly stops receiving blood containing oxygen and nutrients, which can lead to severe heart failure and death. So doctors try to get blood to the heart as soon as possible in order to provide critical oxygen and sugars.

The novel solution: The Stanford team injected a lab-grown strain of cyanobacteria — tiny photosynthetic organisms that use sunlight to convert carbon dioxide and water into oxygen and sugars — into a rat's heart and turned on a light. They saw increased metabolism within 20 minutes and improved heart performance in under an hour.

The drawbacks: Right now, the process requires open-heart surgery for the injection of cyanobacteria and the application of light. Additionally, the costs of outfitting hospitals with the equipment necessary for such a time-sensitive procedure might prove difficult.

Go deeper

Mike Allen, author of AM
2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Biden's "overwhelming force" doctrine

President-elect Biden arrives to introduce his science team in Wilmington yesterday. Photo: Kevin Lamarque/Reuters

President-elect Biden has ordered up a shock-and-awe campaign for his first days in office to signal, as dramatically as possible, the radical shift coming to America and global affairs, his advisers tell us. 

The plan, Part 1 ... Biden, as detailed in a "First Ten Days" memo from incoming chief of staff Ron Klain, plans to unleash executive orders, federal powers and speeches to shift to a stark, national plan for "100 million shots" in three months.

Off the Rails

Episode 2: Barbarians at the Oval

Photo illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios. Photo: Jim Watson/AFP/Getty Images

Beginning on election night 2020 and continuing through his final days in office, Donald Trump unraveled and dragged America with him, to the point that his followers sacked the U.S. Capitol with two weeks left in his term. This Axios series takes you inside the collapse of a president.

Episode 2: Trump stops buying what his professional staff are telling him, and increasingly turns to radical voices telling him what he wants to hear. Read episode 1.

President Trump plunked down in an armchair in the White House residence, still dressed from his golf game — navy fleece, black pants, white MAGA cap. It was Saturday, Nov. 7. The networks had just called the election for Joe Biden.

Fringe right plots new attacks out of sight

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Domestic extremists are using obscure and private corners of the internet to plot new attacks ahead of Inauguration Day. Their plans are also hidden in plain sight, buried in podcasts and online video platforms.

Why it matters: Because law enforcement was caught flat-footed during last week's Capitol siege, researchers and intelligence agencies are paying more attention to online threats that could turn into real-world violence.