In the not too distant future, next Sunday, A.D. Anyone can be frozen in time, even if they're you or me!
One of my favorite aspects of a lot of science fiction stories involves people waking up from a prolonged, scientifically enforced slumber. The Trek classic "Space Seed," Alien/Aliens/Prometheus and, heck, even the space-vampire cult favorite Lifeforce all use that trope well. And I've always thought it would be awesome if suspended animation could be a real thing.
And now the FDA has approved a study at UPMC Presbyterian Hospital in Pittsburgh to do just that -- temporarily suspend human life.
Now, granted, the reality is entirely different from its science fiction counterpart. The technique being studied, emergency preservation and resuscitation (EPR), is more about prolonging the amount of time doctors can deal with a severe physical malady than it is about intergalactic space travel.
So let's say, for example, you are a trauma patient who has gone into cardiac arrest. Under normal circumstances, you will only have about a 7 percent chance of survival. Not too great.
That's where EPR comes in handy. What happens is, cold saline is flushed into your system, thus lowering your body temperature to 10 degrees Celsius. This creates a temporary state of controlled hypothermia that slows down blood flow. Ergo, you don't bleed out as quickly and surgeons have more time to set things right, thus saving your life.
Thus far, it's worked pretty well on pigs, at least. In 2000, 40 pigs were inflicted with lethal wounds, and while the control pigs (aka the ones who didn't have EPR used on them) died, 90 percent of the pigs who did have EPM used survived. That's pretty darn good.
If you happen to live near UPMC Presbyterian in Pittsburgh, you should know that, if you happen to be one of the next 10 trauma patients with fatal injuries, EPR will be tested on you unless you go online and opt out. Although, interestingly, if you do opt out, you will be the first to do so.
(via IFL Science)