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Friday, 6 August 2010

Barbra Attends Cedars-Sinai Benefit

Bloomingdale's opened in Santa Monica with a chic soiree Wednesday night to benefit the Cedars-Sinai Heart Institute’s Women’s Heart Center. It was the first glimpse many people had gotten of the store -- one of the anchor retailers of the revamped Santa Monica Place -- which is scheduled to reopen this weekend after a two-year closure.

The event drew an eclectic crowd -- including Barbra Streisand and James Brolin -- and it’s not often you can say you've seen Rock & Republic co-founder Michael Ball out of one eye, and Diane Keaton out of the other. Dinner kicked off with remarks from Bloomingdale's Chairman Michael Gould and Streisand who served as the honorary event chair.
“They are going to have coffee yogurt here, my fave,” Streisand said, referring to the Forty Carrots Cafe on the store’s second level, before moving on to the more serious topic at hand. “Five hundred thousand women in the U.S. die every year of heart disease. That’s more than die from all cancers combined,” she said, making a pitch for the Women’s Heart Center. “If properly funded, this center can save lives of women around the world. Heart disease is not just a man’s disease anymore.”
She introduced Dr. Noel Bairey Merz, the Center’s cirector, who spoke of the groundbreaking research being done at her institution and others, spotlighting University of Minnesota researcher Dr. Doris Taylor, who found that female stem cells alone, not male, can grow a human heart in a petri dish.
"The biggest challenge with growing a heart is that the cells need to be given some direction," she said. "And male stem cells tend to get lost." After a ripple of laughter moved through the crowd, Merz followed up with an important point.
“So in all likelihood gentlemen, when you need a new organ, or a stem cell, it will come from a woman,” she said.

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