The experiment breathed life into the pig’s brain throughfour hours after death. Scientists in the United States restored blood circulation and cellular activity in 32 pig heads obtained from a meat factory. While there were no signs of awakening or consciousness, signs of cellular activity were observed in 32 brains. Thus, the results of the study cast doubt on long-held assumptions about the finality of death and open a new frontier in brain research.
When does brain death occur?
Brain cell death is usually considered fast andirreversible. After stopping the supply of oxygen and blood, the electrical activity of the brain and signs of consciousness disappear within a few seconds. Then, irreversible brain damage occurs. However, Professor Sestan and his team noticed that small samples of brain tissue show signs of cellular activity, even if it is harvested several hours after death.
This is interesting: Why does death not exist?
To continue the study, specialistsdrew attention to the whole, intact brain of pigs selected for food. According to lead author of the study, Professor Nenad Sestan of Yale University, the intact brain of a large mammal retains its previously underestimated ability to restore blood circulation and certain molecular and cellular activity several hours after the cessation of blood circulation.
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In an innovative experiment specificallyThe developed preservative, the so-called “chemical blood,” circulated through the brains of the dead for four hours. The solution, heated to body temperature, was injected through the blood vessels of the brain for six hours. During this time, scientists observed a decrease in cell death and restoration of the functionality of certain nerve, blood vessels and auxiliary cells of the nervous tissue - glial cells.
Glial cells are important brain cells.“Supporting cells” that hold neurons in place, supply them with nutrients and oxygen, provide isolation and get rid of dead cells. Scientists also found that the revived activity of cells even included some synaptic function - the transmission of signals between neurons. The study is published in the journal Nature.
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According to study co-author Dr. ZvonimirIn Vrsel, experts have never seen organized electrical activity associated with perception, awareness or consciousness. During the study, it was clinically determined that this is not a living brain, but a brain with cellular activity.
Scientists believe that in the future, lessons learnedfrom their work, they will help doctors find a way to save brain function in stroke patients, or test the effectiveness of procedures aimed at restoring cells after injuries. Scientists emphasize that any future research involving human tissue or a possible resurgence of global electrical activity in the "dead" brains of animals will need to undergo rigorous ethical supervision. However, it remains unknown whether a similar technique will work with human brain tissue. The fact is that in a chemical solution there were not many components that are naturally found in human blood, such as cells of the immune system.
Be that as it may, all the researchers who participated in the experiment agreed that the continuation of such studies is a serious ethical issue.