By BuckTheWorld on 04:10:29 04/18/19
Some Function Restored in Dead Pigs' Brains
By Kelly Young
Edited by Richard Saitz, MD, MPH, FACP, DFASAM
Scientists have restored some brain function in pigs that were killed hours earlier, researchers report in Nature. The pigs had been decapitated for food production.
Roughly 4 hours after decapitation, researchers circulated a solution of a hemoglobin-based oxygen carrier and various drugs through 32 isolated pig brains via a system of pumps, heaters, and filters, called BrainEx, for 6 hours at normal body temperature. Blood circulation, spontaneous synaptic activity, and responsiveness to drugs was restored. Global electrical activity, indicating higher levels of brain function and consciousness, was not observed.
Commentators say the work — if replicated — might potentially have implications for treating human brain damage from hypoxia, but many ethical issues must first be addressed. They also caution, "It's easy to imagine misapplications of brain perfusion following the publication of the BrainEx study."