26.05.2023 15:10 Last Update: 26.05.2023 15:10
News Source: (Photo: Representative)
This system can be pointed at the head to induce “drowsiness,” a state similar to hibernation. During hibernation, mammals suppress their metabolism, lower their body temperature and slow down other processes.
The researchers who developed the new system successfully triggered this numbness in mice and rats after aiming ultrasound pulses at the animals’ heads.
The researchers say that this system could also work in humans and could have important applications in long-distance spaceflight or medicine.
CAN BE USED IN SPACE TRAVEL
While more work is needed to understand how this might work in humans, the researchers note that it could be used, for example, in cases of acute emergencies or serious illness. For example, someone who has been in a car accident may be refrigerated until their organs are used for transplantation.
According to the news in Independent Turkish, this system, which can also be useful for long journeys in space, can reduce the amount of resources needed for the survival of those traveling to Mars or other distant places.
Mammals and birds keep their body temperatures high and burn a lot of energy. While this feature is beneficial in many ways, it also causes them to need almost too much food and other resources.
Some animals can limit the disadvantages of this condition by triggering drowsiness, which reduces many of these processes. This means they use less energy but can return to their normal lives without harming their bodies.
People cannot do this. However, since it would be incredibly useful if they could, a search began for a safe and reliable way to trigger this condition that does not require surgical intervention.
The scientists found that aiming ultrasound pulses at the rats’ heads for about 10 seconds induced the same conditions as drowsiness, resulting in slower heart rate, lower body temperature and slower metabolism.
Also, by measuring this body temperature, the researchers set up a special system that can send more of these pulses when the mouse seems to be returning to normal.
On the other hand, without this system, the mice would wake up again and return to normal metabolism and body temperature.
Still, there are many dangers. Experiments show that it is dangerous to bring animals back from their deep “lethargy” and these creatures may not be able to recover.
For example, mice in cold environments did not wake up spontaneously. And any experiments on humans will run the risk of replicating these safety issues in humans.
The work is described in a new paper in Nature entitled “Induction of a torpor-like hypothermic and hypometabolic state in rodents by ultrasound”.