American scientists were able to ‘revive’ brains of dead pigs

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American scientists from Yale and Case Western Reserve University have managed to revive cellular activity in the brains of dead pigs.

In a study published in the journal Nature Wednesday, researchers said parts of the brain can actually be revived hours after an incident of oxygen depletion.

Oxygen flow and the brain

Studies have shown that the brains of mammals are highly sensitive to the flow of blood and oxygen. Within seconds of interrupted blood flow, mammals can lose consciousness.

Also, electrical activity in the brain can reduce drastically as brain cells can quickly switch their charge from positive to negative.In the absence of oxygen, or if oxygen levels fall, the mitochondria — known as the powerhouses of the cell — start to shut down quickly while an amino acid called glutamate accumulates in the nerves. This kind of cascading, multiple layers of dysfunction in the brain have always been thought to lead to permanent brain damage, or worse, brain death.

However, scientists have started to question this conclusion in the light of several new studies in which brain cells, which have been sampled from people who’ve been dead for several hours, have shown possibilities of revival. The same was found for mitochondria, which was revived ten hours after the death of a person.

In one case, a monkey’s brain was resuscitated after an hour of low oxygen level.

Even among humans, after episodes of severe hypothermia (when the body loses heat faster than it can produce heat, causing a dangerously low body temperature), complete revival with no permanent brain damage has been possible.

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