Monday, April 25, 2005

Wait a Tick

Suspended animation may happen. Researchers have induced a phase close to it in mice, inducing hibernation using hydrogen sulfide and waking the mice up again with a dash of fresh air. Apparently the mice suffered no side effects from the hibernation. What's the deal? Here's the potential uses:

"Slowing metabolic functions to a near standstill preserves organs and other tissues. That could, for example, give critically ill patients awaiting organ transplants more time, keep patients suffering severe blood loss from car accidents or gunshot wounds alive long enough to get transfusions and surgery, minimize damage from heart attacks and strokes, and help minimize the side effects of cancer chemotherapy and radiation."

The research before had been successful on all kinds of less-complex animals, but the mice represent the first time scientists have worked the technique up to a mammal. Metabolic rates fall 90 percent, breathing slowls more than 90 percent, and body temperature drops. The gas used is also naturally produced by animals and used to regulate energy in the body, so this is way more natural than any type of chryogenics. Of course, no one should be surprised DOD is funding the research. I sense there's a project underfoot to put Donald Rumsfeld in suspended animation, so that should the country ever need him again he can be called upon. . .