from the world's big
Scientists replace blood with icy solution to save lives in danger
Doctors put a human into suspended animation for the first time ever.
- A trial at the University of Maryland Medical Centre in Baltimore puts patients with death-causing injuries into suspended animation.
- The technique works by cooling the body and the brain.
- This gives surgeons more times to help the patients survive.
For the first time ever, a trial in the United States succeeded in placing humans in suspended animation. The approach involves cooling people with catastrophic injuries to allow for additional time to save their lives.
The technique, called emergency preservation and resuscitation (EPR), is being applied at the University of Maryland Medical Centre in Baltimore to patients who arrive in cardiac arrest from an acute trauma like a gunshot or stab wound. In these situations there are just minutes left to operate, with little chance of survival, as the heart of the patient is likely not beating and they lost over a half of their blood, reports New Scientist.
EPR works by quickly cooling a person in such a condition to somewhere between 10 to 15°C (from the normal body temp of 37 degrees). Their blood is also changed out completely to ice-cold saline. As their brain activity discontinues, they are unplugged from the system that's been cooling them and moved into surgery.
Doctors have 2 hours to work on the injuries before a person in this state of suspended animation is warmed up, with their heart restarted.
Why does this work?
Without blood carrying oxygen to the cells in our body, the brain would only be alive for 5 minutes before major damage. Cooling the body and brain's temperatures brings all cell chemical reactions to a near-stop, requiring less oxygen.
Samuel Tisherman from the University of Maryland School of Medicine, who led the research, told New Scientist that his team managed to put at least one patient in suspended animation. He called the accomplishment "a little surreal".
While putting people in suspended animation is also the staple of faraway space travel proposals, Tisherman cautions that their focus currently lies on saving people while on Earth.
"I want to make clear that we're not trying to send people off to Saturn," he said. "We're trying to buy ourselves more time to save lives."
Check out the recent symposium at the New York Academy of Sciences where Tisherman described his research.
"We're trying to thread that fine line between doing something to someone that's going to do well anyway, or doing something to somebody that's going to die no matter what we do," Tisherman told the Academy.
Full results of the trial are expected to be announced by the end of 2020.
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A scientist in Sweden makes a controversial presentation at a future of food conference.
- A behavioral scientist from Sweden thinks cannibalism of corpses will become necessary due to effects of climate change.
- He made the controversial presentation to Swedish TV during a "Future of Food" conference in Stockholm.
- The scientist acknowledges the many taboos this idea would have to overcome.
Depiction of cannibalism in the Medieval ages.
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President Vladimir Putin announces approval of Russia's coronavirus vaccine but scientists warn it may be unsafe.
A new coronavirus vaccine on display at the Nikolai Gamaleya National Center of Epidemiology and Microbiology in Moscow, Russia.
Credit: Alexander Zemlianichenko Jr/ Russian Direct Investment Fund via AP
Medical workers draw blood from volunteers participating in a trial of a coronavirus vaccine at the Budenko Main Military Hospital outside Moscow, Russia.
Credit: Russian Defense Ministry Press Service via AP
A report from the New York Times raises questions over how the teletherapy startup Talkspace handles user data.
- In the report, several former employees said that "individual users' anonymized conversations were routinely reviewed and mined for insights."
- Talkspace denied using user data for marketing purposes, though it acknowledged that it looks at client transcripts to improve its services.
- It's still unclear whether teletherapy is as effective as traditional therapy.
Talkspace.com<p>Former employees also questioned the legitimacy of certain interventions by the company into client-therapist interactions. For example, after one therapist sent a client a link to an online anxiety worksheet, a company representative instructed her to try to keep clients inside the app.</p><p style="margin-left: 20px;">"I was like, 'How do you know I did that?'" Karissa Brennan, a therapist who worked with Talkspace from 2015 to 2017, told the Times. "They said it was private, but it wasn't."</p><p>Other former employees said the company would pay special attention to its "enterprise partner" clients, who worked at companies like Google. One therapist said Talkspace contacted her for taking too long to respond to Google clients.</p><p>Talkspace responded to the Times with a Medium <a href="https://medium.com/@founders_22883/talkspace-founders-respond-to-a-new-york-times-article-78d6f5c45c59" target="_blank">post</a>, which claimed the Times report contained false and "uninformed assertions."</p><p style="margin-left: 20px;">"Talkspace is a HIPAA/HITECH and SOC2 approved platform, audited annually by external vendors, and has deployed additional technologies to keep its data safe, exceeding all existing regulatory requirements," the post states.</p>