Released Jun 24th, 2023 9:01 AM EDT
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Picture by Chris Smith (KBRwyle) / Goddard Space Flight Centre (NASA).
Astronauts may one day be able to enter a state of suspended animation similar to that depicted in science fiction. The idea was developed when researchers successfully induced a hibernation-like state in mice and rats by blasting their brains with ultrasound. Scientists contend that the technique may one day be used to treat injured humans or astronauts.
This method is the first of its type, and the researchers claim it works by directing ultrasonic waves towards the part of the brain that regulates thermoregulation. The researchers claim their approach showed promise by lowering the rodents’ average body temperature by about 6.25 degrees Fahrenheit. Additionally, it lowered their blood pressure and oxygen consumption.
The results of this animal study may provide researchers with useful insights on how to safely and effectively investigate torpor, a state similar to hibernation, in humans. The new findings are described in an article published in Nature Metabolism.
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There are obviously a wide variety of possible applications for this tactic. In addition to its potential utility in the medical field by elongating window periods for treatment, hibernation-like suspended animation could prove useful for deep space missions to distant planets like Mars.
When asked by Live Science about the potential medicinal uses of his team’s work, lead author Hong Chen said, “If successfully demonstrated in humans, this innovation holds substantial potential.”As a result of the drop in both temperature and oxygen consumption, upgrades to the oxygen systems used on spacecraft for manned missions to Mars and other locations would be necessary.
Scientists have long wanted they could help people reap the benefits of a torpid sleep regimen, and if this study is any indication, we may be headed in the right direction to making that a reality.
Science, video games, and the popular culture of technology are just some of the topics that Josh Hawkins has written on for quite some time. He’s also a top-tier consumer with extensive knowledge of product comparisons, headphones, and gaming hardware.
When he isn’t writing about gadgets and technology on his blog, you can probably find him immersed in a new virtual world on his computer.