Exciting news for hypothermia sufferers – hey, wake up, we’re
talking to you – a Russian scientist reckons he’s discovered an
instant jab which could save lives in emergency situations.
The main problem with reviving hypothermia victims is that in some
situations, though there are no signs of life, the brain can still be
alive and protected by deep cold. Warming however can mean that the
brain cells warm up before blood starts flowing again, with the
result that the cells then die from lack of oxygen.
Kyrill Ivanov of the Pavlov Institute of Physiology in St
Petersburg claims to have discovered a chemical which when injected,
kickstarts the body’s normal functions so that blood flows and oxygen
is transported while the brain cells are still cold and
So far Ivanov says that the treatment revives rats and rabbits
that have been chilled until their brains are at only 16-degrees C.
Which is good news for hypothermic rats and rabbits of course. Now he
wants to test the treatment on humans in genuine emergency
Effectively the injection induces shivering, causing warming,
though it’s not yet clear whether the mechanism is exactly the same
for humans. Obviously there are significant implications for
mountaineers and rescue teams faced with hypothermic victims.
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