How ancient remedies are changing modern medicine

Long overlooked by Western science, traditional Chinese treatments are yielding cutting-edge cures.

In my hand I’m holding a warm, beating heart. About the size of a softball, it’s a luminous globe of scarlet, pink, and white tissue.

I can feel its chambers contracting and hear the whoosh of the fluid it’s still pumping. It’s slimy and gives off a slightly pungent odor.

The organ is alive almost eight hours after I watched Paul Iaizzo remove it from a sedated pig in a basement lab, connect it to tubes simulating arteries and veins, and spark it back into rhythm with an electric jolt, as a paramedic would shock a human heart back to life. Although it’s outside the pig’s body, the heart flexes and lurches on its own, driven by some unseen, unexplained, primordial force. More than grotesque, I find it hypnotic and beautiful.

Read This Next

First great apes at U.S. zoo receive COVID-19 vaccine made for animals

The priceless primate fossils found in a garbage dump

Buried for 4,000 years, this ancient culture could expand the 'Cradle of Civilization'

Go Further

Subscriber Exclusive Content

Why are people so dang obsessed with Mars?

How viruses shape our world

The era of greyhound racing in the U.S. is coming to an end

See how people have imagined life on Mars through history

See how NASA’s new Mars rover will explore the red planet

Why are people so dang obsessed with Mars?

How viruses shape our world

The era of greyhound racing in the U.S. is coming to an end

See how people have imagined life on Mars through history

See how NASA’s new Mars rover will explore the red planet

Why are people so dang obsessed with Mars?

How viruses shape our world

The era of greyhound racing in the U.S. is coming to an end

See how people have imagined life on Mars through history

See how NASA’s new Mars rover will explore the red planet