Through the Mirror: Suspended animation is a term that we hear in many sci-fi films, usually when a person is sent on a long-term space flight. Now scientists have used the technique for the first time in real life to fix extreme injuries.
Samuel Tisherman, New Scientist at the University of Maryland's School of Medicine, reported that his team had put at least one person in the suspended animation, though he would not say how many people survived the trial.
Officially called "Emergency Preservation and Resuscitation" (EPR), it is tested on patients with acute trauma such as puncture wounds and gunshot wounds and had a cardiac arrest. Their hearts have stopped beating, and they have lost more than half of their blood, which usually results in a survival rate of less than 5 percent. At normal body temperature, the cells need a constant supply of oxygen to produce energy and keep us alive. However, as the temperature of the body and brain is lowered, the chemical reactions of the cells are slowed or stopped, requiring less oxygen.
While the brain can survive only five minutes without oxygen before irreparable damage occurs. The team working on an EPR patient has two hours to fix his injuries before he is warmed up and his heart is restarted.
The study results will be published next year. Hopefully, you will answer questions about how long a person can stay safe in a locked animation. "I want to make it clear that we're not trying to send people to Saturn," Tisherman said. "We try to give ourselves more time to save lives."
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