Skip to comments.Is death still the end? Scientists spark life in brains of dead pigs
Posted on 04/17/2019 11:43:36 AM PDT by LibWhacker
Yale scientists say experiment opens new frontier in brain research 35 minutes ago Re-vitalised brains of dead pigs said to be cellularly active. Photograph: Damien Meyer/AFP/Getty
Re-vitalised brains of dead pigs said to be cellularly active. Photograph: Damien Meyer/AFP/Getty
An experiment has breathed life into the brains of pigs four hours after death. Scientists in the US restored circulation and cellular activity in 32 pig brains obtained from a meat-packing plant.
While there was no evidence of re-awakening awareness or consciousness, the re-vitalised brains were said to be cellularly active.
The study has implications that challenge long-held assumptions about the finality of death, and opens up a new frontier in brain research.
Lead scientist Prof Nenad Sestan, from Yale University, said: The intact brain of a large mammal retains a previously under-appreciated capacity for restoration of circulation and certain molecular and cellular activities multiple hours after circulatory arrest.
Cellular brain death is usually considered to be swift and irreversible.
Once the supply of oxygen and blood are cut off, the brains electrical activity and signs of awareness vanish within seconds.
A cascade of destruction then occurs leading to widespread degeneration from which there is no turning back.
However, Prof Sestan and his team noticed that small brain tissue samples routinely showed signs of cellular life returning, even when harvested hours after death.
To investigate further, they turned their attention to whole, intact brains from pigs processed for food production.
In a ground-breaking experiment, a specially designed chemical blood preservative was circulated through the brains of dead animals that had been slaughtered four hours earlier.
The solution, warmed to normal body temperature, was perfused through the brains blood vessels for six hours.
During this time the scientists observed a reduction in cell death and the restored functionality of certain nerve, blood vessel and glial cells.
Glial cells are important brain support cells that hold neurons in place, feed them with nutrients and oxygen, provide insulation, and clean up the carcasses of dead cells.
The revived activity even included some synaptic function, the transmission of signals between neurons.
Details of the study are published in the latest issue of Nature journal.
Co-author Dr Zvonimir Vrselja, also from Yale, said: At no point did we observe the kind of organised electrical activity associated with perception, awareness, or consciousness.
Clinically defined, this is not a living brain, but it is a cellularly active brain.
Lessons learned from the study could in future help doctors find ways to salvage brain function in stroke patients, or test the effectiveness of treatments designed to aid cellular recovery after injury, say the scientists.
The BrainEx system developed at Yale could also provide a powerful research tool.
Andrea Beckel-Mitchener, from the US National Institute of of Mental Health, which co-funded the research, said: This line of research holds hope for advancing understanding and treatment of brain disorders and could lead to a whole new way of studying the post-mortem human brain.
Any future studies involving human tissue or the possible revival of global electrical activity in dead animal brains would have to undergo strict ethical supervision, the team stressed.
However, it was unclear that the technique would work in a recently deceased human brain.
The chemical solution lacked many components found naturally in human blood, such as immune system cells.
Dr Stephen Latham, director of Yale Universitys Interdisciplinary Center for Bioethics, said: Restoration of consciousness was never a goal of this research.
The researchers were prepared to intervene with the use of anaesthetics and temperature-reduction to stop organised global electrical activity if it were to emerge.
Everyone agreed in advance that experiments involving revived global activity couldnt go forward without clear ethical standards and institutional oversight mechanisms. PA
Jan in the Pan...
Who says you need an active brain to be alive? Look at democraps, look at AOC!
Do you make your own gravy?
Not only do the pigs spark back to life but they also start mumbling something like aloha snackbar
Gives a new meaning to the phrase “wake up dead.”
That’s it! I’m not getting cremated!
I am glad that someone “got it” so quickly!
Meh. Frankenstein proved this over a century ago.
let me conjure up McCain who’s now burning in Hell and ask him...
Yikes! Totally missed that reference. Had to Google it. Never saw this movie, or even heard of it. Looks like I missed a good one. ;-)
Sorry, but death is by definition final. The headline attempts to make us think that a dead pig can be brought back to life. A lie.
The article says the truth: “Clinically defined, this is not a living brain, but it is a cellularly active brain”. Of course some cells will regain their function, but this is for a short time, and the organism is no longer a unified whole, and is dead, and the cells will die very soon too.
Death is that from which you do not return. If you “return from the dead” you were not dead.
Logic is apparently difficult to accept for some people.
..... What if brain death was like wiping a hard drive ...... Now that it is cellularly active .... it is just waiting for the operating system to be installed.
Is that “ Anne Uumellmahaye”?
Any Muslims on project team?
Weekend at Babe’s?
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