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SCI/TECH: Science Finds Way To Swap (Temporarily) Warm-Blooded Animals to Cold-Blooded

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posted on Apr, 22 2005 @ 07:49 AM
Scientists have been able to force mice into a state of hibernation by having them breathe hydrogen sulfide. The gas is normally lethal in high doses, but at the right dosage it seems to force the mice into a very low metabolic state. Scientists are hoping further research will lead to the ability to force a similar type of human hibernation.
WASHINGTON, April 21 (Reuters) - Mice forced to breathe hydrogen sulfide -- known best for its rotten egg smell -- go into a kind of suspended animation, U.S. researchers said on Thursday in a finding that may help save human lives.

Although hydrogen sulfide gas is toxic in high doses, it may activate some of the mechanisms that cause other animals to go into hibernation, they wrote in this week's issue of the journal Science.

Finding a safe way to do this in humans could lead to new ways to treat cancer and prevent injury or death from blood loss, or help people undergo and recover from surgery better, said the team at Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center.

Please visit the link provided for the complete story.

This could be a very important discovery, should scientists be able to understand and harness the effects they have seem on mice in the laboratory. The scientists are reporting that the gas slows the metabolic rate of the mice to a point where the body has a significantly reduced need for oxygen. This allows the mice to maintain life in a soft of suspended fashion until the gas is removed and metabolism returns to normal. At this time, the scientists have found no negative effects on the mice after recovery.

If this technology can be translated without negative effect to the human species, it should literally change the way we deal with sickness, travel, and more. As the article sites, a patient with a major organ failure waiting for a transplant donor could be put into a state of hibernation until a suitable organ is found and delivered, effectively "buying time" for the patient. Right now, it doesn't seem effective for long periods of time, but if that were to chage, imagine the possibilites. For space travel, we could have out astronauts "hibernate" for long space journeys, arriving at their destination months, years, or even decades after they leave without very minimal physical aging or impact. Critically wounded could be placed into a state of "hibernation" until medical attention could be given, which could save uncounted lives in both everyday emergency services, or even on the battefield in times of was.

Related News Links:

Related Discussion Threads:
New Hibernation Technique Might Work on Humans

[edit on 22-4-2005 by cohiba]

posted on Apr, 22 2005 @ 08:02 AM
This is very interesting, and a sharp turn away from traditional stasis-inducing research such as cryogenics, which always comes up against the problem of irreversable tissue damage.

Good find.

[edit on 2005/4/22 by wecomeinpeace]

posted on Apr, 22 2005 @ 08:22 AM
The title is a little misleading, but I still voted it up. I did not see anything in the article about whether the body temperature was reduced or not. I would be interested if you have more info on that. Interesting research, nice find.

posted on Apr, 22 2005 @ 08:34 AM
I guess the sneaky astronauts that fart in the shuttle can now blame it on 'hibernation gas'. hehe

This sounds good if it can be developed more. Lots of uses for it.

posted on Apr, 22 2005 @ 08:54 AM

Originally posted by Hal9000
The title is a little misleading, but I still voted it up. I did not see anything in the article about whether the body temperature was reduced or not. I would be interested if you have more info on that. Interesting research, nice find.

According to This Article - "Hibernation trick may aid humans" the body temperature of the mice does drop along with the metabolic rate.

A search on google for "Mark Roth" and "Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center" will give you many different articles about this to read through. I'm still trying to get through all the information, but it looks pretty good so far.

posted on Apr, 22 2005 @ 09:09 AM
Could this mean that the ability of some species to hibernate, could possibly be a mutation?

Sulfur-reducing bacteria, which use sulfur as a food source, are the primary producers of large quantities of hydrogen sulfide (H2S). These bacteria chemically change natural sulfates (SO4) in water to hydrogen sulfide. Sulfur-reducing bacteria live in oxygen-deficient environments such as deep wells, plumbing systems, water softeners and water heaters. These bacteria strip the O2 molecule from the sulfate ion to leave (S) which combines with Hydrogen in water to form H2S. These bacteria usually flourish in large recirculating water tanks and ponds.

Could this same result found in the lab, have occured naturally in the past....and would this new trait/ability be passed on to the next generation?

posted on Apr, 22 2005 @ 10:08 AM
I asked the above question because I have noticed many here in ATS, who seem to have expert knowledge with regards to DNA and the evolutionary process via mutations, and i wonder if this is proof of a mutation(via environmental factors) working positively towards the benefit of the host organism.

[edit on 22-4-2005 by Rren]

posted on Apr, 22 2005 @ 12:19 PM
What I would be interested to know is what is the effect on the human brain being without oxygen for that long? These mice may return to normal but would a human?

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