Can death be reversed? Scientists partially revive brains of dead pigs

a hand touching the human brain

Despite technological advances, biology and medicine still lack a coherent and principled understanding of what precisely defines birth and death—the two bookends that delimit life.

This year a large team of physicians and scientists at the Yale School of Medicine under Nenad Sestan took advantage of hundreds of pigs killed at a Department of Agriculture–approved slaughterhouse for a remarkable experiment, published in the journal Nature. The researchers removed the brains from their skulls and connected the carotid arteries and veins to a perfusion device that mimics a beating heart. It circulates a kind of artificial blood, a synthetic mixture of compounds that carry oxygen and drugs that protect cells from damage.

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At first glance, the restored brains with the circulating solution appeared relatively normal. As the compound circulated, the fine net of arteries, capillaries and veins that suffuse brain tissue responded appropriately.

What was not present in these results were brain waves of the kind familiar from electroencephalographic (EEG) recordings.

And yet! It cannot be ruled out that with some kind of external help, a sort of cortical defibrillator, these “dead” brains could be booted up, reviving the brain rhythms characteristic of the living brain.

Read full, original post: Is Death Reversible?

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