Saturday, August 27, 2005

back from the dead

This is not my area of expertise, but it is rather incredible, the stuff of science fiction:

Soldiers in combat and gunshot or stabbing victims often bleed to death because medics don't have enough time to perform mouth-to-mouth resuscitation or deliver blood. This type of injury kills about 50,000 Americans every year and is the leading cause of death among troops killed in action, said nationally recognized trauma surgeon Dr. Howard Champion, who lives in Annapolis, Md.

In the 1980s, Dr. Peter Safar -- inventor of cardiopulmonary resuscitation and founder of the center that bears his name -- collaborated with Army officials to develop a novel "big chill" concept for bringing people back to life after their hearts stop beating because of massive blood loss.

Safar, who died two years ago, proposed flushing the circulatory system with an ice-cold salt solution, which would drop the core body temperature to about 50 degrees compared to the usual 98.6 degrees.

Cooling the body in this way would buy extra time to transport injured soldiers or trauma victims in cardiac arrest to the hospital, Safar reasoned. The cold temperature would have a preserving effect so no damage would occur to tissues and organs, even though the heart would be stopped.

"The idea is to preserve the victim for just a little while in this state called suspended animation so the surgeons can locate bleeding sites and make the necessary repairs," Kochanek said.

Patients could then be revived by slowly pumping warm blood back into their bodies and administering a brief electric shock to their hearts.

The news here is that scientists have recently tried this technique successfully on dogs:

Scientists at Pitt's Safar Center for Resuscitation Research in Oakland announced at the meeting last week that they have found a way to revive dogs three hours after clinical death -- an hour longer than in previous experiments, said the center's director, Dr. Patrick Kochanek.

Now we just need to locate and disable that pesky aging gene . . .

1 comment:

your girlfriend said...

Dude--some scientists just found an anti-ageing gene!!

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/sci/tech/4186324.stm