Medical research

Preventing calcification of bioprosthetic heart valves

A defective heart valve is the second most common form of heart disease. Most cases involve a narrowed aortic valve, but often the mitral valve can also be affected. Prostheses significantly increase the life expectancy of ...

Medical research

Research challenges decades-old understanding of how we hear sound

Researchers at Linköping University, Sweden, have made several discoveries on the functioning mechanisms of the inner hair cells of the ear, which convert sounds into nerve signals that are processed in the brain. The results, ...

Immunology

The immune system: Knocked off balance

Instead of protecting us, the immune system can sometimes go awry, as in the case of autoimmune diseases and allergies. A Ludwig-Maximilian-Universitaet (LMU) in Munich team has dissected how mast cells regulate their calcium ...

Medical research

Scientists unveil how general anesthesia works

Hailed as one of the most important medical advances, the discovery of general anesthetics—compounds that induce unconsciousness, prevent control of movement and block pain—helped transform dangerous and traumatic operations ...

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Calcium

Calcium (pronounced /ˈkælsiəm/) is the chemical element with the symbol Ca and atomic number 20. It has an atomic mass of 40.078 amu. Calcium is a soft grey alkaline earth metal, and is the fifth most abundant element by mass in the Earth's crust. Calcium is also the fifth most abundant dissolved ion in seawater by both molarity and mass, after sodium, chloride, magnesium, and sulfate.

Calcium is essential for living organisms, particularly in cell physiology, where movement of the calcium ion Ca2+ into and out of the cytoplasm functions as a signal for many cellular processes. As a major material used in mineralization of bones and shells, calcium is the most abundant metal by mass in many animals.

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