Living…without Breathing?

People need oxygen to live. Without it, cardiac arrest and brain injury will occur. Until recently, just four to six minutes without oxygen caused brain cells to die. But now, a new life extension technology promises to keep non-breathing patients alive for a much longer period…maybe even up to 30 minutes.

New Life Extension Technology

In 2006, Dr. John Kheir treated a little girl who suffered from severe pneumonia. Unfortunately, it caused her lungs to bleed and reduced her oxygen levels. She experienced brain damage. Before Dr. Kheir could hook her up to a heart-lung machine, she passed away. Afterward, Dr. Kheir began searching for an oxygen-substitute to use for life extension purposes. Recently, he and his research team at Boston Children’s Hospital designed tiny microparticles that can be used to swiftly provide oxygen into a person’s bloodstream.

How’s it Work?

The microparticles have a size of 2 to 4 micrometers, making them invisible to the human eye. They contain a pocket of oxygen gas which has “three to four times the oxygen content of our own red blood cells.” This gas is surrounded by a layer of fat-based lipids. When entered into the bloodstream, the lipids deform.

“[The] deformable particles…dramatically increase the surface area for gas exchange and are able to squeeze through capillaries where free gas would get stuck.” ~ Dr. John Kheir, Injecting Life-Saving Oxygen Into a Vein, Science Daily, June 27, 2012

The idea is to inject these microparticles into the bloodstream via a syringe. In other words, they would be portable and thus, could be used in the hospital as well as carried by emergency personnel in the field.

The Bottom Line

The microparticles have already proven successful with life extension for poorly oxygenated animals, restoring blood oxygen saturation to “near-normal levels” within a matter of seconds. For animals that experienced blocked tracheas, the microparticles kept them alive for 15 minutes without breathing while simultaneously reducing their risk of cardiac arrest and internal injuries. It’s believed the microparticles could work for as long as 30 minutes.

“This is a short-term oxygen substitute — a way to safely inject oxygen gas to support patients during a critical few minutes. Eventually, this could be stored in syringes on every code cart in a hospital, ambulance or transport helicopter to help stabilize patients who are having difficulty breathing.” ~ Dr. John Kheir, Injecting Life-Saving Oxygen Into a Vein, Science Daily, June 27, 2012

We here at Guerrilla Explorer have a deep interest in life extension technologies like cryonics. So, we’re excited about these microparticles. 15 to 30 minutes may not sound like much, but when a life is on the line, it’s an eternity. If it’s as successful with people as it is with animals, it could ultimately save millions of lives.

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