Does Hibernation Help You Achieve Immortality?

Science

Science is changing to adapt to cold weather, which could lead to changes in treatments for inflammatory diseases, insomnia or trauma.

While some people sometimes complain about the cold weather in winter, others on the contrary, really love to “freeze” each winter.

Most of us must have enjoyed the cold winters. On that basis, many new industries were opened. For example, skin care products, skin moisturizers, and large, bulky warm coats are essential when you are out for a few minutes. Lamp simulates sunlight and vitamins promise to help people maintain vitality.

In the coldest and harshest climates, people are thinking of more efficient alternatives. Hibernation is an example.

Bringing people to hibernation is the ideal way to make long space trips. Photo: Theatlantic.

Feasible measures

Asmall group of scientists is taking hibernation for extremely serious people. They studied all its applications, such as traumatic surgery while patients were in cardiac arrest, space travel and altered metabolic rate to lose weight.

“It’s very likely that humans will hibernate,” said Professor Kelly Drew of the Institute of Arctic Biology, University of Alaska. Drew studied small, stout arctic ground squirrels that enter the cave for eight months each year.

Drew explains the nature of hibernation is the regulation of body temperature. Hypothermia causes the body to metabolize less, animals need almost no food at that time. Most of the calories that we, the warm-blooded animals burn to maintain a stable body temperature, are the factors that make up the basic rate of human metabolism.

The squirrels in Professor Drew’s study often curled into small balls, drastically reducing their body temperature from 37.2 to -2.7 degrees Celsius. This reduced their basal metabolic rate by about 99%.

Unfortunately, like a bear or a lemur, human body temperature has remained constant. Photo: Phys.

Even in dwarf lemurs, which are very similar to us, can reduce the need to burn calories by 2% by reducing body temperature. People seem unfortunate to have a fixed body temperature of 37 degrees. In addition to small daily fluctuations such as when you sleep at night, your body temperature changes only when you have a fever. Just a few degrees difference is a warning sign of health, even causing death.

Human body temperature scores have long been thought to be invariant, but they may not. Although humans do not often fall into a coma, dull because the body prevents it by trembling, Professor Dew said that our body structure is still suitable for hibernation.

In fact, doctors can anesthetize in the most urgent case. For example, they used active hypothermia during surgery, forcing the heart to stop working for long enough for the brain and other organs to extend life in conditions of low body fuel.

Cooling is also used in emergencies after a person’s heart stops beating. Covering the patient in a cold water blanket is thought to have the same effect as placing an ice pack on a sprained ankle, slowing the inflammatory process to minimize long-term damage to the heart and system. Central neutral system.

Hypothermia is being widely used in hospitals. Some doctors believe that this principle can be implemented in cases where people must be kept alive after they die.

The dose of immortality?

At the University of Maryland, surgeon Samuel Tisherman is working on an experimental form of rapid cooling of trauma patients whose heart has stopped beating. This can extend the time and life for them until emergency surgery is performed.

For example, a person with a gunshot wound to the aorta will bleed inside very quickly. If the heart stops, the team will open chest surgery and massage the heart for the victim, maintaining the pumping while trying to reconnect the aorta. This only takes a few minutes, but if the patient loses too much blood, he will die. Without oxygen, the brain dies within minutes.

“Even when the heart stops beating, the brain can survive for about two hours at a low enough temperature,” Tisherman explained. Therefore, to maintain life, the cooling will have to take place very quickly, requiring a team of agile work in the process even in the absence of prior notice. Therefore, he also said that these injuries can be repaired, but the weakness lies in logistics.

A hibernating crew will need less space to move, less food and air. Meanwhile, the spacecraft can make smaller, lighter, or carry more passengers, cost savings for the trip. Photo: Phys.

This also raises the question: If a seriously injured person can be kept alive, can hypothermia be used to slow down metabolism in healthier people? How long can a person with good health hibernate ?

This question is taken seriously by NASA. Starting in 2014, the agency has funded a series of hibernation studies to facilitate long-term space travel.

For example, the journey to Mars is limited by the astronauts’ need to eat and travel, but if the metabolism slows down or is almost zero, we can theoretically go. much further.

“The obvious benefit is that we will need less food,” said John Bradford, an aerospace engineer who worked with NASA through human hibernation studies. However, the risk of medical complications is not nonexistent. Because our bodies do not have a mechanism to store food, astronauts will have to be fed through a tube (surgery by drilling a hole in the front of the abdomen and opening into the stomach).

Bradford thinks the biggest challenge is to reduce the temperature in people without making them shudder and burn energy. In hospitals, tremor is overcome with sedatives, but Warren’s team is quite considerate when giving astronaut groups heavy sedation for weeks or months.

The most essential thing now is a drug that can safely lower a person’s body temperature. Warren and Tisherman both believe that the drug will be a potential breakthrough, a way to address the most obvious limitations in conducting research.

In fact, biologist Kelly Drew owns the drug, which she believes can completely solve the above limitations. She described its function as “turning off the adjustment of body temperature”. In 2019, the National Institutes of Health funded Kelly’s work for $ 11.8 million , showing the appeal of such therapies to humans.

The idea of ​​hibernation makes people think of scenes from Interstellar or Passengers. Photo: Phys.

“Cooling has the potential to play a role in the treatment of many inflammatory diseases, similar to insomnia,” Kelly said. Meanwhile, other researchers are investigating why the process of giving Is metabolism dependent on the temperature that is affected when we are obese or diabetic? Can they be reestablished? When body temperature is controlled, that’s the beginning of a big step forward in medicine.

Using this medicine to hibernate for months can lead to death. In addition to the inherent body temperature problem, there are also anatomical barriers.

Drew said her mouse can only hibernate for about two weeks before septicemia, which appears to be caused by disruption of the intestinal wall. Black bears have a gut more similar to humans, maintaining their hibernation by changing their body temperature over a certain period of time instead of drastically dropping once. Hibernation in humans may require a similar cycle, which is more complicated than turning off the thermostat with just one pill.

One final flaw in this hibernation plan is: Hibernation is different from normal sleep and obviously has no similar recovery benefits. However, if successful in hibernation, an eight-month Mars trip will turn into 15 long sleeps, along with a few days of waking up for light activities.

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