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back to article Suspended-animation cold sleep achieved in lab

Top boffins in the States believe that they may be on the track of a way to place living human beings into suspended animation, allowing them to survive long periods effectively frozen before being "reanimated" with no ill effects. Dr Mark Roth, based at a Seattle cancer laboratory, got interested in suspended animation after …

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Go

That's why mum's go to Iceland.

"Dead" for 23 days? I hadn't heard of that guy.

I'd like to know if his stomach was empty, or if he had lost any weight in that time. Any decomposition or was it too cold?

"Then, once the underlying problem had been fixed, they could be reanimated." Yeah, I saw that episode of Star Trek Next Generation. It wasn't a good one.

I did see a documentary from the year 1987, and N.A.S.A. launches the last of America's deep space probes. In a freak mishap Ranger 3 and its pilot Captain William 'Buck' Rogers are blown out of their trajectory into an orbit which freezes his life support systems, and returns Buck Rogers to Earth five-hundred years later.

He seemed just fine, although develop a propensity for karate chopping aliens in the back.

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Quite the opposite of empty

Apparantly he was walking down the hill after a barbeque when he slipped and broke his pelvis. Ther article I read was quiet as to the state of his digestive system - probably a good thing too.

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Joke

Very pleasant

So not only will one have the discomfort of freezing to death, but they'll also choke you.

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Boffin

Huh...

I must be permanently on the verge of dying, then. My core body temperature has always been 35.5 or thereabouts. And I've always needed a nice warm rock to lie on before I can really get going in a morning...

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Boffin

core body temperature != your "temperature"...

it's the temperature of your insides (core : geddit ?)

if you want to know that, you have to stick the thermometer up your arse (or got to France - that's their preferred way)

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Coat

Internal temperature

Raising your outside temperature on a rock just wont do. You need to raise your internal temperature.

That is what black coffee was invented for :)

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Happy

cool

This is totally awesome! lets test it on mice first though.

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Troll

no - hippies

or midgets! (bald ones)

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FAIL

Suspended animation?

In every one of the suspended animation examples listed in the article the subject had a reduced (core?) body temperature. But all of them appeared to be substantially hotter than their surroundings when found. So how can the article say that they had "literally frozen to death"?

Also, it could be questioned whether the subjects really did suffer no ill effects. I believe that surgeons in the old Soviet Union used to perform heart surgery having stopped the patient's heart. Rather than using the high-techery then available in the west, the surgeons cooled the patients down to 5%C by placing ice over their bodies. Western physicians who studied the outcomes of the 'successful' procedures (those where the patient survived) as well as the blood passed through the patients once during surgery & retained, concluded that the brain suffered damage when blood flow was restricted, even at very low temperatures. And all of the examples listed in your article were warmer than 5%C when found.

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Sir

I too, am curious about how the body maintained any kind of above ambient temperature - especially on a mountain-side.

And being alive is not the same as alive and well - Wasn't there any sign of brain damage from such a prolonged lack of oxygen?

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Bronze badge

Must have been relatively common in days gone by....

I'm guessing this wasn't unheard of in Ireland in days of old...

The tradition of the "wake" was to get lots of people in the room with the supposed corpse overnight and check whether he'd wake up. I mean, do you really want to warm up a room with a dead body in it? No. Unless you thought they might have just gone into "cold sleep".

I'm curious as to whether blood starts to settle out into component parts during cold sleep (do nemotodes have blood like ours?) -- the evidence the Romans took for Jesus being dead was that his blood had separated. Would make for an interesting bit of historical forensics.

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Extra step needed

There was an extra step in the Irish revivification process - splashing whiskey over the body.

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wakes

Probably a dual-purpose tradition. Apparently lead poisoning used to be a problem, but this is Ireland we're talking about! If you're going to put a body in a room in a house so people can pay their respects and support the bereaved, you need to heat the room so the living don't die too!

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Go

no

just pouring it near the body - if they were alive they'd ask for a glass too

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JDX
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Terminator

Stuff

16 degrees is hotter than the surroundings... but if you leave a huge piece of hot meat outside it will take a long time to reach ambient temperature.

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Thumb Down

"literally frozen to death"

Are you trying to get into Colemanballs?

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Headmaster

"literally"

"literally frozen" at 22*C. Beats me too.

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Joke

Yay! Anecdotal Evidence

Because everyone knows that anecdotal evidence is always true and should be used in scientific research.

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FAIL

*sigh*

Scientific enquiry doesn't start with empirical data -- it starts with anecdote and observation, and someone asks "I wonder how that works?" and starts to investigate.

This story is about that very thing.

Man hears stories of unexplained phenomenon.

Man decides to investigate.

Man replicates something appearing to be the same as aforementioned phenomenon.

-->potential explanation.

Man performs further experiments on said potential explanation to see if it holds water.

Science starts with unknowns.

The discipline that starts with a bunch of knowns is called engineering, and it doesn't discover anything new.

Joke icon or not, that was a daft post.

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Now that is a response to a silly post

Top hole sir, top hole!

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Engineering starts with knowns...

...but then tries to use the knowns to determine the unknowns. Engineering DOES find new things--their true goal is to find out "how low can you go"--with what can you and can't you get away in a design or project. IOW, sciences may find the new stuff, but it's the engineers that try to find the minimum x of the stuff that works.

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Suspicious reanimations

"They have no heartbeat and are clinically dead. But they can be reanimated..."

Yeah right. Obviously, they have been called to heaven to fight Satan's army, and that reanimation business is just a trick of the bad guys to remove an irreplaceable general. Don't you guys watch south park?

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Boffin

Literally frozen ?

"her body temperature plunged to just 16°C* before she was rescued, warmed - and came miraculously back to life, despite having literally frozen to death"

Hate to be a pedant (ok, I'm lying, I love it actually) but 16° C is not "frozen". Frozen is 0.

So she wasn't. Not literally or for that matter at all.

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Think About It

Freezing isn't a fixed value; it's relative to the subject.

The freezing point of water is around 0 degrees Celcius at 1 atmosphere of pressure. That is not the case for all liquids.

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Re: Think about it

Yes, it's relative. But a trip to your local supermarket will confirm that for red meat it isn't 16 degrees or anywhere close. Humans are mostly water, after all.

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Not much progress

Sometimes I wonder about our society of "information overload". Scientists do read right?

I read about this prinicple at least 3 years ago, maybe 5. It was an article about a guy who had determined that tissue did not decompose if an organism was deprived of ALL oxygen. Which pretty much makes sense if you think of food packed in nitrogen. The general idea was to stop every last bit of all biological processes.

Anyhow, as I recall he had saturated some life form, frogs I believe, with carbon monoxide and reanimated them latter with no apparent ill-effects.

Cooling was not part of the story as he pointed out that cold just complicated matters because if you freeze anything with water in it, like biological cells, the water expands (crystallizes) and shatters the cell wall thereby making the life form nonviable.

This story seems to document someone reinventing the wheel. Maybe there are important advances that didn't make it through the dumb-down filters for publication. But at face value this is far from groundbreaking and a fairly disappointing that apparently no progress at all has been made in years and years.

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Anonymous Coward

water and freezing

Unless water is frozen extremely quickly, it will crystalize and EXPAND. This tends to cause damage at the cellular level. I'm very much doubting the child was frozen, especially at 16C.

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Re : water and freezing →

In any case even 'normal temp.' people will suffer frostbite on exposed tissue often in a very short time.

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Coat

IIRC

The maximum density for water is 4c. It would seem the outline for a viable process would be a temperature ramp down with gradual shift to an inert gas (while keeping a little CO2 in the incoming stream to stimulate respiration).

Could you chill them fast enough to avoid serious conditions getting worse during the chill? Who knows.

Skull cooling has certainly been looked at as a way to reduce brain swelling during head injuries and strokes.

Mine would have PMP with Niven & Pournelle's "Wait it out" loaded.

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Coffee/keyboard

No way

There's no way I'd want to be put to sleep only to wake up in the 23rd century where humans are no longer conceived naturally and buttfucking is the social norm.

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Anonymous Coward

or worse...

Mouths are now butts...

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Happy

@no way

oh i dunno, that sounds quite fun...

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Thumb Up

Captain Jack Harness

is waiting for you!

(careful with that thumb)

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It's all bullshit.

I know I have poked every member of my family into the deep freezer - one after another and they all came out very cold, very stiff and very dead.

The cuts of meat however were fine.

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Flame

Braaaaaaaaains!

Oop, that only happens when they come back from dead, not cold ... right?

<-- Beat 'em or burn 'em, they go up pretty easy.

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Well

They best make sure they don' do this to criminals, I've seen Demolition Man...

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Cryogenics and reanimation

Fascinating idea, hope it comes to fruition in the next few decades... I think I remember an article the Reg published a while back about a reanimated dog; the dog was killed, blood removed and replaced with saline, then a day later given its blood back and revived, with "only" something like 30% brain damage. Maybe these processes, and several others that have not been invented yet, need to be combined for successful cryogenic storage of human beings?

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Anonymous Coward

Think big

Why is there always such a lack of amibtion? Yeasts and nematode worms? Why not get the ball rolling properly by allowing our parliamentarians and bankers to make a more concrete contribution to science, entertainment and serious Channel 4 documentaries. I'm be delighted to sign up both my MP and my bank manager.

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Suspended Animation

I think the probable end point of the exercise is suspended animation, not a human lollipop. Hence the temperature which they end up using will be whatever works best and most probably not 0'C.

Also, "No way" AC at 22:14, I think you need some help...

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Coat

Fishy appendages

I've been reanimating* fish-fingers for years!

* well re-heating is close enough.

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Flame

Low body temperature...

I once scared the bejesus out of a St John's Ambulance man after he read my body temperature (in ear) as 31.5C - apparently I should have been dead, or at least unconscious, rather than just complaining I didn't feel well and barely being able to walk.

Annoyingly I'd recovered by the Monday (this was at a rugby game on a Saturday afternoon) and could go back to work.

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Alert

flatliners

was there not a movie made about this subject: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Flatliners ?

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Joke

frozen suspended animation

Anyone who wonders how this can happen should have attended some lectures I went to. Every time a certain prof entered the stage I myself switched immediately to suspended animation (though cannot say whether it qualified as frozen). Usually, I was even able to reanimate all myself afterwards.

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"He was found 23 days later with a core body temperature of just 22°C*. "

I'm sorry, but 70 Fahrenheit or 22 Celsius is very very very very far from "frozen." That's about the same (core) temperature as most of the bodies burried in the ground, and I don't see anybody reviving them any time soon.

At least the other story attempts to seem plausible. That Japanese story is more like a fabrication, broken insturments and a few shots of whiskey for my friends the paramedics.

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