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Toien noted that bone loss and muscle loss is a problem right now for long-term spacefliers on the International Space Station. New medications, sparked by future research into hibernation, could retard the bone-loss process in space and on Earth.
"If our research could help by showing how to reduce metabolic rates and oxygen demands in human tissues, one could possibly save people," Toien said. "We simply need to learn how to turn things on and off to induce states that take advantage of the different levels of hibernation."
A hundred and ten years ago the British Medical Journal ran a short article titled Human Hibernation (link). The article, reprinted in 2000, is a peculiar account of how poor Russian peasants allegedly survive famine by sleeping for half of the year. (See Additional News Link for entire story.)
A Japanese man has survived for 24 days in cold weather and without food and water by falling into a state of "hibernation", his doctor has said. news.bbc.co.uk...
It has been claimed that many Eastern yogis, fakirs and shamans are known to be able to control physiological activities such as the heartbeat, body temperature, blood pressure and breathing, using mind power alone. [...] There are reports that the Egyptian Tahra Bey (c1925), could increase his pulse-rate to 140 beats a minute, or slow it down to 40, and sometimes even stop it completely.(See additional news link.)
Senior author Brian Barnes, a zoophysiologist at the University of Alaska, Fairbanks, said that lowering metabolic needs in humans could help extend the "golden hour" after an accident when medical treatment is most effective. "You could imagine a golden day or a golden week."
Human hibernation was strictly the domain of science fiction movies such as 'Alien' and '2001: A Space Odyssey'. See additional news link for more.
They've been called medical miracles: People submerged in icy water, or buried in snow, with no breath or heartbeat. They seem dead, yet a fortunate few are revived—thanks to the cold. Now, across the country, ER doctors are intentionally chilling their patients into hypothermia; meanwhile, scientists are hoping that a cocktail of drugs inspired by hibernating animals could one day perform the same "miracles" on demand.