Many mammals can ‘breathe’ in a unique way — through the anus. Could this insight spur change in how we treat severe respiratory failure in humans?

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Credit: India Times
Credit: India Times

It is established that humans, much like many other mammals out there, breathe oxygen either through their nostrils or mouth. However, a novel study hints that mammals could also be able to breathe from their butts.

This is actually based on a recently published paper (in medical journal Cell) based on the experiments with multiple mammal species which has revealed that even though nostrils and mouth remain the most effective way of breathing, mammals do have the ability to breathe through their rectum.

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[The researchers] artificially induced respiratory failure in animals like pigs, rodents and to provide their bodies with necessary doses of oxygen, both the gas and liquid forms of oxygen were pumped into their rectums.

Researchers discovered that both liquid and gaseous forms of oxygen effectively helped in the recovery of respiratory failure.

According to the researchers, this opens a way for the development of an enema-like oxygen supplementation system for patients who have their airway blocked or cannot provide enough oxygen due to sustained severe damage.

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