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Stem Cells Healing Hearts

Two men in landmark heart stem cell study tell their stories.

Life "Falling Back Into Place" continued...

Dearing, who couldn't manage to walk up a short hill before the stem cell procedure, still has trouble walking around a nearby park -- but not for health reasons anymore.

What's the distraction? Stopping to tell people his story. He loves to talk about being a "guinea pig," he says. "That's why I can't hardly make it around the park, usually. I tell everybody I meet about the stem cell program."

The same thing happens when he chats with people at the grocery store. "If they have any heart condition, he's telling them all about what he has been through," his wife adds.

To date, neither man has noted any ill effects from the procedure, and the researchers have deemed the technique safe. Jones and Dearing continue to see their own primary care doctor or cardiologist for heart treatment, which includes standard medications for heart failure, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol.

Any downsides or regrets about the stem cell procedure?

"Not at all," Jones says. "It just was the right thing to do, when you listen to that little voice in your head. I was very comfortable, very at ease. I never second-guessed myself. I just knew that was what I was supposed to do."

WebMD Senior Health Editor Miranda Hitti contributed to this report.

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Reviewed on July 31, 2012

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