Tag Archives: body temperature

Suspended animation bringing patients back from the brink of death!

Frozen TimeGunshot and knife wound victims placed in suspended animation during surgery? It sounds like science fiction! Suspended animation involves replacing a patient’s blood volume with cold saline in order to induce hypothermia. Doctors at the UPMC Presbyterian Hospital in Pittsburgh, PA will soon test this on patients with lethal injuries. This should give them more time to repair these injuries and increase chances of survival.

And if you’re thinking that this is crazy, you’re probably not alone. I read the first couple of paragraphs of this article and immediately re-checked the source to make sure I hadn’t accidentally clicked on an article from The Onion. But I hadn’t. Even though it’s true that a person can face irreparable brain damage after about 5 minutes without oxygen, cells can survive without oxygen when the body is cooled because chemical and metabolic reactions are suspended.

The technique of suspended animation has been tested successfully in pigs. Amazingly, these animals were able to be revived with no ill-lasting physical or cognitive effects! Now, the procedure will be tried on patients with no alternative treatments, likely someone with traumatic injuries who has already suffered cardiac arrest and lost most of their blood volume with little chance of survival.

Stay tuned for new developments on this trial! The advances we’ve made in medicine are amazing, and I hope that soon, there will be some very grateful patients in Pennsylvania!


Can your fever help protect your loved ones?

fever?When you have the flu, what’s one of the first things you do? If you’re like most people, you take something to reduce your fever. But new research suggests that this could be more harmful than you might think.

Your body’s temperature rises for a reason. When your body senses infection, your brain detects telltale chemical signals in your bloodstream and your body temperature rises. The theory is that your body is trying to fight off bacteria and viruses that are sensitive to temperature changes. Often, though, our first instinct is to get our body temperature back to normal, and we turn to ibuprofen or other fever-reducing drugs (antipyretics) for relief.

Research 40 years ago showed that patients taking antipyretics shed more virus particles than those who didn’t. But new influenza research in ferrets looks at the possible impact on the general population, and suggests that use of these drugs could lead to a 1-5% increase in cases of the flu.

While there’s definitely more work to be done, just keep in mind that your decision to medicate could affect the people around you, as well. What do you think? What do YOU do when you have a fever?