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Suspended Animation For Surgery Patients

Surgery patients will be quick-chilled to temperatures as low as 10 degrees C to give them a better chance of surviving major surgery. The technique is being pioneered at Harvard Medical School and the Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston.

Researchers are now set to begin the first human trials of the technique, which involves replacing a patient's blood with a cold solution to rapidly chill body temperatures.

Dr Hasan Alam, the surgeon who is leading the research at Massachusetts General Hospital, said that often emergency patients suffering from gunshot wounds, stabbings and car accidents are on the brink of death anyway so by cooling their bodies so extensively it can protect their brain and organs from damage.

Dr Alam said trials of the technique in animals had shown it to be hugely successful.

He said: "If you drop the body's core temperature and brain temperature down to 15 degrees C or 10 degrees C you are talking about 60 minutes and even 190 minutes of protection.

"By cooling rapidly in this fashion we can convert almost certain death into a 90 per cent survival rate."

Science fiction fans have been waiting for decades for modern medicine to adopt this idea, having seen it in places like Dr. Who's The Ark in Space.

Suspend your animated web surfing, and read these hibernation links:

See also the frigorific process from the 1879 story The Senator's Daughter, by Edward Page Mitchell.

Via The Telegraph; thanks to the readers who wrote in with this story (I couldn't do it without you!).

Scroll down for more stories in the same category. (Story submitted 9/26/2010)

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