Researchers have managed to partially bring back to life the brains of several pigs that have been dead for several hours. The study raises many ethical questions and shows that we still have a lot to learn about the subject.
Biologists have known since the dawn of time that the brain is extremely vulnerable to interruptions of the blood circuit and oxygen supply. In a few minutes, irreparable and irreversible damage can be seen, sometimes leading to brain death. This name refers to the state of complete absence of brain activity and is legally considered the death of the patient.
And what if this state could be reversed? This is the prowess that a team of American scientists announces to have succeeded. They published their results in the journal Nature.
An alive brain vs an active brain
No less than four hours after the brain death of several pigs, scientists have indeed managed to reactivate the circulation and certain cellular functions. They immersed the brains of these pigs in an infusion system called BrainEx: a hemoglobin and nutrient-based blood substitute has been injected into the veins and arteries of the brain.
It should be noted, however, that these are not “zombie pigs” returned from among the dead. ” Clinically speaking, it’s not a living brain, but it’s a cell-active brain,” Zvonimir Vrselja, one of the study’s lead authors, said in a statement.
The researchers indeed have not detected a “type of electrical activity organized that would be associated with the perception or consciousness.” If by chance the scientists had noted evidence of conscience, the experiment would have been stopped from the outset, they told the press.
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