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How a Heart Attack Occurs

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A 3-D animation that shows how plaques form in a blood vessel, leading to blockage and a heart attack.

How a Heart Attack Occurs Background

Excess circulating fats in the blood stream can build up between the walls of a coronary arteriy. These buildups are referred to as fatty streaks or plaques. If the plaques become large enough, they can push out into the coronary artery itself, creating a blood clot or blockage and possibly a heart attack.

From Lecture One of the 2004 Holiday Lectures Series "The Science of Fat."

How a Heart Attack Occurs Teaching Tips

The animations in this section have a wide variety of classroom applications. Use the tips below to get started but look for more specific teaching tips in the near future. Please tell us how you are using the animations in your classroom by sending e-mail to biointeractive@hhmi.org.

  1. Use the animations to make abstract scientific ideas visible and concrete.
  2. Explain important scientific principles through the animations. For example, the biological clocks animations can be used to demonstrate the fundamentals of transcription and translation.
  3. Make sure that students learn the material by repeating sections of the animations as often as you think necessary to reinforce underlying scientific principles. You can start, restart, and play back sections of the animations.
  4. Urge students to use the animations in accordance with their own learning styles. Students who are more visually oriented can watch the animations first and read the text later, while others might prefer to read the explanations first and then view the graphics.
  5. Incorporate the animations into Web-based learning modules that you create to supplement your classroom curricula.
  6. Encourage students to incorporate the animations into their own Web-based projects.


The 2004 Holiday Lectures Series "The Science of Fat"

How a Heart Attack Occurs Credits

Animation courtesy of Merck Research Laboratories, Merck & Co., Inc.

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