Suspended Animation Becomes a Reality, Human Trials Underway

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Suspended Animation Becomes a Reality, Human Trials Underway

Doctors are testing the use of suspended animation to save patients who otherwise couldn't be treated in time to save their lives.

The line between modern technology and science fiction gets a little thinner every day. The latest future tech to become a reality is suspended animation (or cryostasis, or whatever you want to call it) - the process of freezing a person so they can be reanimated at a later time. Doctors at a Pittsburgh hospital are currently beginning human trials on gunshot victims; the hope is that this method will buy surgeons extra time to save patients from normally fatal injuries.

The process of suspended animation - or as the doctors prefer, "emergency preservation and resuscitation" - is surprisingly simple. The patient is cooled to a temperature of about 50 degrees Fahrenheit as their blood is gradually drained and replaced with a cold saline solution, slowing cellular activity to a standstill. The process takes around 15 minutes, and while it does technically leave the patient dead as a doornail, the patient can be revived by warming them back up and cycling their blood back into the body.

Even if this technique gains traction, don't expect to accidentally wander into a machine and get frozen for a thousand years; the body can only survive in this state for a few hours while the surgery is performed. UPMC Presbyterian Hospital in Pittsburgh will give it a test run on ten people who suffer life-threatening traumatic injuries and don't respond to normal methods of resuscitation. Since these injuries have a very high fatality rate with no alternative treatments, surgeons don't actually need the patient's consent to attempt this experimental procedure. After the initial trials, the doctors will decide whether or not to expand the treatment to more locations.

Source: Digital Trends

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Have a pizza here for... I.C. Weiner?

Anyway, seems only possible for surgery and other short-term things right now, but it seems like the theory could be applied for more long-term preservation.

hentropy:
Have a pizza here for... I.C. Weiner?

Aw, crud.

OT: What year is this, my future brethren?
It's 2020... We just cured you from a disease that could have killed you in 2016...
Did anything happen since my departure?
...Nope. Humanity has reached its "impasse" right now...

don't expect to accidentally wander into a machine and get frozen for a thousand years

I had my hopes raised for a few moments.

Our robot overlords could probably come up with an entertaining use for this technology.

Interesting (If somewhat misleadingly titled) though the first thing that popped into my head wasn't Futurama but using this for space travel. Which it, sadly, doesn't seem capable of. But anything that saves lives is always good.

In other news, the flying car has been invented. A couple of inventors put RC cars instead of landing gear on a Cesna and now you can drive it in traffic as well as fly.

If it keeps someone alive for a few hours, then it's hardly suspended animation become "reality". It's not even one step closer to what we think of as suspended animation.

It's funny how all these futuristic technological advancements are seen in the movies decades before they ever happen.

All we need now is a time machine for the past to fuck with all the dinosaurs by sneezing on them.

How long before we have the powersuited suspended human being who is still conscious, aware, and capable of action (Mr. Freeze)? Only time will tell...

Looks like somebody in Pittsburgh has been reading Artemis Fowl...

Seriously, in the third book (spoilers but really, it's an 8 book series that's been out for several years so I shouldn't need spoiler tags now) a major character gets shot and his life is saved using this exact method. Right down to the saline solution. It was that well described in the book that until now I was under the impression it was already a real thing :P

"Since these injuries have a very high fatality rate with no alternative treatments, surgeons don't actually need the patient's consent to attempt this experimental procedure."

Bullshit you don't need their permission. If I had this done to me, even if it saved my life, I would sue the pants off of them for using me as a lab rat without my permission.

I have a vague memory of seeing this on an episode of House once..

Zeren:
Bullshit you don't need their permission. If I had this done to me, even if it saved my life, I would sue the pants off of them for using me as a lab rat without my permission.

So, you saved my life, now I'm going financially end yours? If undergoing suspended animation saves your life, who cares if they have permission?

I wonder what this does to a person's brain. Because if they're technically dead, isn't their brain activity gone too?

It sounded great...until the draining blood part anyway. I still think the solution lies in more of a Futurama or Demolition Man kinda direction.

Zeren:
Bullshit you don't need their permission. If I had this done to me, even if it saved my life, I would sue the pants off of them for using me as a lab rat without my permission.

Ah, Americans and their litigation culture.

Trivun:
Looks like somebody in Pittsburgh has been reading Artemis Fowl...

Seriously, in the second book (spoilers but really, it's an 8 book series that's been out for several years so I shouldn't need spoiler tags now) a major character gets shot and his life is saved using this exact method. Right down to the saline solution. It was that well described in the book that until now I was under the impression it was already a real thing :P

Darn, ninja'd.

Always good to see tech advancements for saving lives. I never thought I'd live to see this tech come this close to reality - mostly because tech breakthroughs recently seem to have been "we took this tech and made it smaller". Good for science.

Zeren:
"Since these injuries have a very high fatality rate with no alternative treatments, surgeons don't actually need the patient's consent to attempt this experimental procedure."

Bullshit you don't need their permission. If I had this done to me, even if it saved my life, I would sue the pants off of them for using me as a lab rat without my permission.

well its either try this and have a chance to live or don't and your dead which one would you prefer

Actually surgeons still need patient or patient/agent consent. No matter what the procedure. Especially where the side effects of the procedure are unknown. There have been more than a few doctors that have been sued for performing life-saving amputations without patient consent.

If the procedure is a full success well the patient is usually just glad to still be alive but otherwise... yeah. Now if you're going to say, but the patient is as good as dead anyway and the procedure technically renders them dead but in that scenario doctors still require next of kin consent before doing anything with the corpse.

Smilomaniac:
In other news, the flying car has been invented. A couple of inventors put RC cars instead of landing gear on a Cesna and now you can drive it in traffic as well as fly.

If it keeps someone alive for a few hours, then it's hardly suspended animation become "reality". It's not even one step closer to what we think of as suspended animation.

Yes it is. The OP states that the cellular processes are slowed to a standstill. This is suspended animation. Doesn't matter that we cant't do it longer than a couple of hours. As the tech improves so will the duration we are able to keep people in suspended animation for. All experimental tech needs times to mature, look at the air plane. The first one only flew for less than a minute, 75 odd years later we landed on the moon.

Trivun:
Looks like somebody in Pittsburgh has been reading Artemis Fowl...

Seriously, in the second book (spoilers but really, it's an 8 book series that's been out for several years so I shouldn't need spoiler tags now) a major character gets shot and his life is saved using this exact method. Right down to the saline solution. It was that well described in the book that until now I was under the impression it was already a real thing :P

You mean the third book. The second book was the Arctic Incident where they recover his father from those terrorist/criminal guys.

There was a lot of ice in there too, but nobody got frozen. ;)

OT: It's all fun and games until someone wakes up three million years into deep space.

x EvilErmine x:
All experimental tech needs times to mature, look at the air plane. The first one only flew for less than a minute, 75 odd years later we landed on the moon.

I believe it was 65 years? 55 if you count unmanned missions.

Smilomaniac:
In other news, the flying car has been invented. A couple of inventors put RC cars instead of landing gear on a Cesna and now you can drive it in traffic as well as fly.

If it keeps someone alive for a few hours, then it's hardly suspended animation become "reality". It's not even one step closer to what we think of as suspended animation.

Yeah, this is playing fast and loose with titles again.

This has been known to work (from people drowning after falling through ice) for decades.
So they now apply it in the ER or OR... that's not quite what the title promised me, so boo! :(

Damn it, you had me hoping I'd be able to get my boneitus cured.

The Funslinger:
OT: It's all fun and games until someone wakes up three million years into deep space.

At which point there is more fun and games (and sometimes parallel universes and cat people).

Also, I would like to give a hug to whatever editor added the tag "Only Mostly Dead" to the article.

Zeren:
"Since these injuries have a very high fatality rate with no alternative treatments, surgeons don't actually need the patient's consent to attempt this experimental procedure."

Bullshit you don't need their permission. If I had this done to me, even if it saved my life, I would sue the pants off of them for using me as a lab rat without my permission.

Your suit would be rejected. Doctors are obligated to attempt to save your life even without your permission. This is a case in which you are almost guaranteed to die if they don't use the experimental treatment, you won't be in a sound state of mind to make an informed decision about the treatment, and there is not enough time to have your next-of-kin make the decision for you.

As this tech gets perfected surgeons will get laid off and their number reduced to a point where you wait in surgery queue for weeks in suspended animation :D

I'm not sure if sci-fi is taking queues from real science, or the other way around. :p

So that's Pittsburgh with a "h" then? The original article just made a mistake?
That's my hometown!
...
Damn it, I knew I should have majored in medical science.

Pittsburgh has an H at the end. They worked hard for that H, and they are touchy about it.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Etymology_of_Pittsburgh

Cognimancer:
Pittsburg

Pittsburgh
It was an English town not a German one.

Honestly if it saved my life and didn't you know cause massive brain damage then I'd be fine with it, besides your probably going to die anyway might as well take a chance on something this cool sounding.

Tony2077:

Zeren:
"Since these injuries have a very high fatality rate with no alternative treatments, surgeons don't actually need the patient's consent to attempt this experimental procedure."

Bullshit you don't need their permission. If I had this done to me, even if it saved my life, I would sue the pants off of them for using me as a lab rat without my permission.

well its either try this and have a chance to live or don't and your dead which one would you prefer

Alive with money. Because as much as we complain that companies are greedy, we forget that individual people are often equally greedy to the point of insane cognitive dissonance.

It's OK, though, let him try. His lawsuit would be chucked nigh-instantly.

OT: The blood-draining part is really, really creepy, but it's still a really cool tech. :D

Brain transplants are they key to long term suspended animation.

Deep freezing a human body would cause traumatic damage to many of it's systems/organs etc, even once drained of blood etc. The main focus here, should be trying to successfully transplant a brain from one living body to another (possibly doing so with a brain dead body, and a body that can no longer support a brain for instance).

We are not even close to doing that of course, but, if you could....then it might be possible preserve a brain, and then transplant it into a body at a later date (possibly even storing dna from the original body and re-growing it for the brain to be put back into).

The technology we need now, is how to preserve the brain. We could wait for the technology to actually transplant it later I guess. Of course, if we don't have the technology to transplant it, we cant tell if we are successfully preserving the brain or not.

Alternatively, figuring out how to record/store memories in a brain, the electrical impulses that make up each persons personality/memories etc, could allow not only the ability to suspend life, but to make it immortal as well. Regrow new bodies every few years and transplant the memories experiences over to the new one.

Interesting. I wonder if full blown suspended animation will find uses in the future. This is certainly a lot further than we were before and a good first step. But is it possible to freeze a body for extended periods of time? Or would one have to find a different method?

All in all, pretty cool. I'm one step closer to cryogenically freezing myself til we can travel in space as easily as we travel to the Super Market.

lacktheknack:

Tony2077:

Zeren:
"Since these injuries have a very high fatality rate with no alternative treatments, surgeons don't actually need the patient's consent to attempt this experimental procedure."

Bullshit you don't need their permission. If I had this done to me, even if it saved my life, I would sue the pants off of them for using me as a lab rat without my permission.

well its either try this and have a chance to live or don't and your dead which one would you prefer

Alive with money. Because as much as we complain that companies are greedy, we forget that individual people are often equally greedy to the point of insane cognitive dissonance.

It's OK, though, let him try. His lawsuit would be chucked nigh-instantly.

OT: The blood-draining part is really, really creepy, but it's still a really cool tech. :D

Why, that is slander, my good sir. I don't have to take this. I shall sue you for implying that I am a greedy person who will sue anyone for money. I shall see you in court.

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