Monday, June 14, 2010

Quietly Not Going - On freezing and resuscitation

This article about reviving people from clinical death after "freezing to death" is very interesting. It talks about an experiment with both yeast and worms that shows extreme cold combined with oxygen depravation creates conditions necessary for a high likelihood of resuscitation. If the oxygen is present while freezing though - not so good.

here's a quote from the story:

When subjected to literally freezing temperatures, the embryos of yeast and garden worms do not live, researchers found. A full 99 percent of those in the experiment died after 24 hours of exposure to temperatures just above freezing.

But, when first deprived of oxygen in the manner described above, 66 percent of the yeast and 97 percent of the garden worms survived. Upon re-warming and reintroduction of oxygen, the "two widely divergent organisms" reanimated and showed normal life spans, said scientists in a statement.

Which brings me around to thinking about the cases of people who are able to be revived after disappearing under frozen lakes, or the skier who had a skiing accident and "drowned" trapped with their head underwater in a very cold stream. There are other cases the article mentions where drowning is not central - but people just being exposed to extreme cold to rapidly induce a state of suspended animation as they'd say in Star Trek.

So where's it lead? the article mentions handling of donor organs as an example, but what if somebody is way far away from medical care and is going to die unless these conditions (extreme cold/oxygen deprevation) are induced? Sounds scary, but if it's your only way to have a chance of survival do you do it? I think I recall doctors already using lowering the body temperature as part of the proceedure to improve results in some types of surgery.

Anyhow, thought that was very interesting

No comments: