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Always look on the bright side of death... even as you take your (formerly) terminal breath!
August 25, 2012 11:04 PM   Subscribe

Sudden death suddenly becomes a lot less pressing. A team of scientists at the Boston Children’s Hospital have designed a microparticle that can be injected into the bloodstream which rapidly oxygenates blood, capable of keeping a person alive for up to 30 minutes after respiratory failure. This will even work if the ability to breathe has been restricted, or cut off entirely. Here's how it works, in greater detail. This finding has the potential to save millions of lives every year, and can buy emergency medical personnel a significant amount of time to address what would otherwise be fatal emergencies. It also has numerous potential applications for the Defense Department, which is funding part of the research.
posted by markkraft (83 comments total) 81 users marked this as a favorite

 
This is fantastic.
posted by scrowdid at 11:14 PM on August 25, 2012 [2 favorites]


...or it will cause zombies. One of the two.

(Kidding, kidding, this looks awesome.)
posted by maryr at 11:14 PM on August 25, 2012 [11 favorites]


The author of this article is Damien S. Wilhelmi, an SEO tactician and SEM strategist. If you enjoyed this article, you can follow me on twitter @JakabokBotch. I am writing on behalf of Wilderness Aware Rafting who offer some of the best Colorado White Water Rafting trips in the state.

Now there's a byline that inspires confidence in a science reporter!
posted by RogerB at 11:15 PM on August 25, 2012 [82 favorites]


Sounds like sci fi.
posted by OwlBoy at 11:16 PM on August 25, 2012


Just coming to post that, RogerB.
posted by Tell Me No Lies at 11:19 PM on August 25, 2012


I don't know what to make of this either.It raises a lot of questions. Now that we no longer need lungs what do we do with all that extra space?
posted by Ad hominem at 11:20 PM on August 25, 2012 [2 favorites]


That's amazing.
posted by LobsterMitten at 11:25 PM on August 25, 2012


I guess I immediately wonder about the potential for something along the lines of the bends. But then, decompression sickness beats being dead.
posted by dhartung at 11:25 PM on August 25, 2012 [2 favorites]


Wow. This is really huge. I wonder if these lipid capsules will be useful for delivery of drugs - do they selectively target blood cells, or are they just dumping their contents into whatever they bump into and they bump into blood cells first since they're injected into the blood stream?
posted by jason_steakums at 11:26 PM on August 25, 2012


@Ad hominem: I'm assuming this only works for 30mins because CO2 still builds up in the blood.
posted by sbutler at 11:27 PM on August 25, 2012 [3 favorites]


I'm having my lungs surgically removed and replaced with a device that pumps this stuff out and carbon dioxide-scrubbing canisters, so I can pull some David Blaine shit.
posted by floam at 11:28 PM on August 25, 2012 [1 favorite]


Wow, a real life respirocyte.
posted by dragoon at 11:35 PM on August 25, 2012 [1 favorite]


Brilliant. I hope it gets widespread use asap.
posted by Malice at 11:37 PM on August 25, 2012


Lance Armstrong said in his bio he had an edge because he was able to get more oxygen into his blood than normal people due to his genetic makeup (something about his lungs).
posted by stbalbach at 11:40 PM on August 25, 2012


Welp, seems like a great time to start up that pack-a-day smoking habit I've always been meaning to try out. By the time I have COPD they'll have the device floam describes worked out.
posted by XMLicious at 11:41 PM on August 25, 2012 [2 favorites]


a permanent micro-particle dispenser was invented that allowed blood to become oxiginated at a level far surpassing than that of any other human. the immediate effects were drastically increased strength and reaction times. the secondary effects . . . the device was designed as a mask which was permanently strapped over the mouth and nose of the subject . . .
posted by Algebra at 11:47 PM on August 25, 2012 [10 favorites]


jason_steakums: Wow. This is really huge. I wonder if these lipid capsules will be useful for delivery of drugs - do they selectively target blood cells, or are they just dumping their contents into whatever they bump into and they bump into blood cells first since they're injected into the blood stream?

Sure, this sounds like it is a variation on an old idea, liposomes. Liposomes will go anywhere the blood goes, so a huge area of research is cancer therapies. Because tumor grow fast (well, the really dangerous types do) they often have lots of blood vessels and those vessels aren't formed really well, causing them to be "leaky", so the liposomes accumulate in tumors. Stick the nasty chemotherapeutic drug inside the liposome and it theoretically will be preferentially delivered to the tumor to work but safely encased away from the rest of the body. This is a common treatment for breast cancer and mitigates side effects therefore allowing a larger dosage of the drugs.

Beyond cancer, liposomes are a huge area of research for selective delivery of a myriad of drugs. I had never heard of a gas being delivered this way; this is pretty damn novel.
posted by roquetuen at 11:50 PM on August 25, 2012 [3 favorites]


You don't have to die just because your heart and lungs stop working.

Well, you don't have to.
posted by mule98J at 11:59 PM on August 25, 2012


No great gain without some loss? Oxygen Toxicity.
posted by cenoxo at 12:01 AM on August 26, 2012 [1 favorite]


Answers to some questions people have asked seem to be in the last article linked:
"published online today inScience Translational Medicine, he and colleagues report the development of microparticles filled with oxygen gas that can be injected directly into the bloodstream. The particles quickly dissolve, releasing the gas and keeping organs, such as the brain, from suffocating. [...]

The microparticles are tiny bubbles whose surfaces are membranes already used clinically to administer chemotherapy drugs and ultrasound dyes. But while those microparticles release their contents slowly, Kheir and his collaborators designed oxygen-containing particles that would dissolve as soon as they hit the bloodstream. They then tested the microparticles in rabbits breathing air low in oxygen. Within seconds of receiving the microbubbles, the levels of oxygen in the rabbits' blood rose from a dangerously low 70% to nearly 100% saturation, the ideal level.

"Essentially as soon as we started injecting it, clinically we started to see an effect," says Kheir. But if the injection stopped, the levels fell just as quickly, he says, indicating the need for the microparticles to be continuously administered.

... large animal trials that are currently underway...

For now, the microparticles are bathed in so much fluid that—especially in young or small patients—the volume is a limiting factor in how long people could receive the infusion. The current maximum is around 15 to 30 minutes, Kheir says. "If we could increase the ratio of microparticles to fluid, we might be able to use this for even longer, and even more indications.""
posted by LobsterMitten at 12:04 AM on August 26, 2012 [2 favorites]


I'll be the bastard: I'm ok with people dying of natural causes, myself included.

I'm not a believer, but I'm pretty sure this place is some other place's Hell.
posted by isopraxis at 12:15 AM on August 26, 2012 [2 favorites]


Lance Armstrong said in his bio he had an edge because he was able to get more oxygen into his blood than normal people due to his genetic makeup (something about his lungs).
A) Also he was doping
B) Everyone else (at least the top cyclists) could do that as well
C) Also everyone else was doping.

Anyway, yeah. I wonder about the performance enhancing aspects of this thing, if it's legit (and not just being hyped for clicks by an SEO douche-bag)

But even if these things can replace the lungs do they also replace the heart? Don't you need to keep the blood pumping, even if the lungs aren't adding new oxygen?
posted by delmoi at 12:18 AM on August 26, 2012 [3 favorites]


I don't know what to make of this either.It raises a lot of questions. Now that we no longer need lungs what do we do with all that extra space?

Taking a cue from Tesla Motors, we can add an additional set of trunks.
posted by Apocryphon at 12:19 AM on August 26, 2012 [1 favorite]


Also, it's kind of hard to imagine you could just increase oxygen concentration without causing some problems, obviously too much would be a problem, right?
posted by delmoi at 12:20 AM on August 26, 2012


Oxygen issues are at the very heart of most cardiac disease.
posted by Ardiril at 12:28 AM on August 26, 2012


I'll be the bastard: I'm ok with people dying of natural causes, myself included.

I'm not a believer, but I'm pretty sure this place is some other place's Hell.


This probably isn't going to save you from many natural causes. This will save you when you'd have survived if only the doctors had a few minutes to fix what broke after you got hit by a bus or had a heart attack. And what we consider natural causes has changed as medicine has progressed, you know.
posted by floam at 12:28 AM on August 26, 2012 [12 favorites]


Eh heart attack may not be the best counter-example. I was thinking more along the lines of ventricular fibrillation type stuff.
posted by floam at 12:31 AM on August 26, 2012


And what we consider natural causes has changed as medicine has progressed, you know.
Back in the day, people of all ages routinely died after minor scrapes and cuts which would get infected.
posted by delmoi at 12:32 AM on August 26, 2012 [3 favorites]


Without a beating heart, I wonder if there's anywhere you could stab this stuff in the back of the head or neck that gets it close enough to the brain to do any good. How much circulation happens from chest compressions?
posted by floam at 12:37 AM on August 26, 2012


Now that we no longer need lungs what do we do with all that extra space?

Ol' Fortran, cigars, pieces of humans that ticked me off...
posted by obiwanwasabi at 12:42 AM on August 26, 2012 [5 favorites]


This stuff is really cool - thanks for posting. Had never heard of respirocytes before either, so thanks dragoon.
posted by YAMWAK at 1:02 AM on August 26, 2012


I'll be the bastard: I'm ok with people dying of natural causes, myself included.

I'm not a believer, but I'm pretty sure this place is some other place's Hell.
posted by isopraxis at 2:15 AM on August 26

I'm with you here -- people should just go on ahead and die of lymphoma at 22 years old, even though there are chemo and radiation treatments which will extend their lives, perhaps to one as long as the avg lifespan.

And those diabetics, oh man, no reason they ought to have the chance to live on and on -- Begone! Begone!! Throw away that insulin, chunk those needles into the fire and get on outta here, come on now, die of a natural cause!

And for crying out loud, those HIV+ positive people, they ought to just go on and die of a natural cause, once that HIV it flips into AIDS -- even though brilliant, caring individuals have worked their lives away to give them a chance, pffft, go on, natural causes, hit the bricks, buddy, get on outta here.

And this place could also easy be some other place's Heaven -- there's days I think it's pure-D, double-dog heaven just to be walking and talking on this ball of dirt and stone and water, enjoying the shining sun, talking to a friend maybe, or petting a happy dog.

I love the words Heller put into Yossarian's mouth, that he was going to live forever or die trying.
posted by dancestoblue at 1:49 AM on August 26, 2012 [21 favorites]


I think depending on the duration of hypoxia that sudden reoxygenation can actually trigger some amount of apoptosis. I hope they can quickly figure out how to deploy this effectively everywhere. Maybe every place they have a AED we'll be seeing syringes of this stuff too.
posted by BrotherCaine at 1:54 AM on August 26, 2012


If it works in large animal trials that are currently underway and moves to human clinical trials...

The idea is not even out of animal trials yet? Well, if it doesn't work out, at least they have skills in the art of the scientific press release and web marketing.
posted by superelastic at 3:13 AM on August 26, 2012 [3 favorites]


I'm not a believer, but I'm pretty sure this place is some other place's Hell.

You can get drugs and other therapy that might help you with that.

Seriously. Talk to somebody.
posted by obiwanwasabi at 3:15 AM on August 26, 2012 [4 favorites]


Can I assume something like this is covered by a DNR order?
posted by Thorzdad at 3:57 AM on August 26, 2012


Can I assume something like this is covered by a DNR order?

Well, it is still just an (extremely advanced) resuscitation method. I'd be more interested in seeing what EMS provider levels they wind up authorizing to use this stuff. Currently oxygen therapy is classed as a B skill and IVs as an A/P skill, but depending on how they package this and how transformative it turns out to be, I could see that line blurring dramatically down the road.

'Course, that all relies on this not causing the same problems that traditional fluid resuscitation does: volume expanders definitionally displace regular blood, after all. Once this stuff burns out, you'd have a lot of extra dead volume running around. Maybe they should find a middle ground between this and standard perfluorocarbon-based blood substitutes? (Or just develop some sort of pseudo-dialysis rig to filter out the extra binders and spent carrier particles.)

So, until the clinical trials start in earnest, shall we just let the "o teh noes, her nanomachines" jokes begin?
posted by fifthrider at 4:50 AM on August 26, 2012 [1 favorite]


How much circulation happens from chest compressions?

More than you might expect, but only if you do them right. The limiting factors are the skill of the provider and the fact that you're recirculating increasingly anoxic blood. It definitely can't replace proper circulation; not by a long shot. Clean/Pretty/Reliable it ain't. With the right tools and skills, though, we stand to improve that dramatically.

Now, if TV drama writers would just quit equating CPR with "OH NO, NOW THEY HAVE TO KISS" and start showing appropriate evaluation and effective chest compressions...
posted by fifthrider at 4:58 AM on August 26, 2012 [4 favorites]


Wow, its like the goofballs from The Sirens Of Titan have become reality!

Seriously, this is fantastic.
posted by marienbad at 5:05 AM on August 26, 2012


I have a friend whose four year old died of an asthma attack. I can see how this might very well have saved his life had it been available to the ambulance crew, natural causes aside.
posted by tamitang at 6:24 AM on August 26, 2012 [1 favorite]


That article screamed bullshit...
posted by a non e mouse at 6:29 AM on August 26, 2012


I'll be the bastard: I'm ok with people dying of natural causes, myself included.

I get the ire at this statement. It's fine and dandy when the people dying of natural consequences are people you don't know, etc etc. But it's not stupid to consider that Earth cannot support forever an exponentially growing population. The more people stay alive and the more they live longer and longer, the quicker we're going to be fucked by a 20 billion and growing faster than ever population, the quicker resources will disappear, and the quicker people who used to be nice will get nasty because you're drinking a cup of their water or burning a pint of their gasoline. Wars start when backs are against the wall.

I don't want any of your loved ones to die prematurely anymore than I want my own to do the same. But I feel like it's foolish to file all concerns about overpopulation and the things that contribute to it (advancing medicine and having lots of kids, for example) under 'too rude to talk about.' Recycling didn't seem like a big deal to most people 100 years ago. Pollution didn't seem like a big deal to most people 100 years ago.
posted by TheRedArmy at 6:58 AM on August 26, 2012


Here's the real link

if anyone wants to read the paper, rather than the advertisements. Still in animal trials.

Sci Transl Med 27 June 2012:
Vol. 4, Issue 140, p. 140ra88
Sci. Transl. Med. DOI: 10.1126/scitranslmed.3003679

Oxygen Gas–Filled Microparticles Provide Intravenous Oxygen Delivery
John N. Kheir1,*, Laurie A. Scharp2, Mark A. Borden3,4, Edward J. Swanson3, Andrew Loxley5, James H. Reese1, Katherine J. Black1, Luis A. Velazquez1, Lindsay M. Thomson1, Brian K. Walsh6, Kathryn E. Mullen7, Dionne A. Graham1,8, Michael W. Lawlor9, Carlo Brugnara10, David C. Bell11 and Francis X. McGowan Jr.2,12


ABSTRACT

We have developed an injectable foam suspension containing self-assembling, lipid-based microparticles encapsulating a core of pure oxygen gas for intravenous injection. Prototype suspensions were manufactured to contain between 50 and 90 ml of oxygen gas per deciliter of suspension. Particle size was polydisperse, with a mean particle diameter between 2 and 4 μm. When mixed with human blood ex vivo, oxygen transfer from 70 volume % microparticles was complete within 4 s. When the microparticles were infused by intravenous injection into hypoxemic rabbits, arterial saturations increased within seconds to near-normal levels; this was followed by a decrease in oxygen tensions after stopping the infusions. The particles were also infused into rabbits undergoing 15 min of complete tracheal occlusion. Oxygen microparticles significantly decreased the degree of hypoxemia in these rabbits, and the incidence of cardiac arrest and organ injury was reduced compared to controls. The ability to administer oxygen and other gases directly to the bloodstream may represent a technique for short-term rescue of profoundly hypoxemic patients, to selectively augment oxygen delivery to at-risk organs, or for novel diagnostic techniques. Furthermore, the ability to titrate gas infusions rapidly may minimize oxygen-related toxicity.

Copyright © 2012, American Association for the Advancement of Science
Citation: J. N. Kheir, L. A. Scharp, M. A. Borden, E. J. Swanson, A. Loxley, J. H. Reese, K. J. Black, L. A. Velazquez, L. M. Thomson, B. K. Walsh, K. E. Mullen, D. A. Graham, M. W. Lawlor, C. Brugnara, D. C. Bell, F. X. McGowan, Oxygen Gas–Filled Microparticles Provide Intravenous Oxygen Delivery. Sci. Transl. Med. 4, 140ra88 (2012).
posted by eustatic at 7:08 AM on August 26, 2012 [14 favorites]


TheRedArmy, one of the reasons birth rates in developed countries go down is due to increased life expectancy. People don't feel as pressing a need to have multiple children when nearly all of them survive infancy and childhood. It's a pretty widely understood concept. Population growth is a problem, but while it may seem counterintuitive, increased life expectancy isn't one of the main causes, and is actually the opposite - it leads to declining birth rates.
posted by Devils Rancher at 7:10 AM on August 26, 2012 [10 favorites]


At what point, without respiration, does The rising CO2 level in the bloodstream become problematic?
posted by Devils Rancher at 7:14 AM on August 26, 2012


Beyond cancer, liposomes are a huge area of research for selective delivery of a myriad of drugs. I had never heard of a gas being delivered this way; this is pretty damn novel.

It's a standard configuration for ultrasound contrast agents. Things like this have been in the clinic for a long time.
posted by mr_roboto at 7:28 AM on August 26, 2012


I love the words Heller put into Yossarian's mouth, that he was going to live forever or die trying.

Or as Hank Williams put it a few decades earlier, "No matter how you struggle and strive, you'll never get out of this world alive."
posted by spitbull at 7:43 AM on August 26, 2012 [1 favorite]


I guess I immediately wonder about the potential for something along the lines of the bends. But then, decompression sickness beats being dead.
posted by dhartung


That and the fact that the bends are caused by too much Nitrogen in your blood which causes bubbles as you decompress, and has nothing to do with oxygen. You can also die from the bends, and it's apparently a pretty horrible and painful way to go...
posted by Eekacat at 7:55 AM on August 26, 2012


The author of this article is Damien S. Wilhelmi, an SEO tactician and SEM strategist.

Yeah, you should see all the cookies that flow through that site. Ugh.
posted by CheeseDigestsAll at 8:08 AM on August 26, 2012


That can rather easily be solved by, like, having fewer kids rather than letting people die.
posted by empath at 8:11 AM on August 26, 2012 [3 favorites]


I guess I immediately wonder about the potential for something along the lines of the bends.


I'll have to get in touch with them; the World Space Patrol must have figured it out. "... the crew never wore space suits; instead they took "oxygen pills" to survive in the vacuum of space..."
posted by Kronos_to_Earth at 8:20 AM on August 26, 2012 [1 favorite]


Seems ideal for field usage, less so for hospitals. Ventilators already to a pretty good job of oxygenation and ventilation of CO2.

Weirdly, the techwench article shuts the browser on my Android down about 5 s after opening.
posted by Existential Dread at 8:25 AM on August 26, 2012


TheRedArmy, one of the reasons birth rates in developed countries go down is due to increased life expectancy. People don't feel as pressing a need to have multiple children when nearly all of them survive infancy and childhood. It's a pretty widely understood concept. Population growth is a problem, but while it may seem counterintuitive, increased life expectancy isn't one of the main causes, and is actually the opposite - it leads to declining birth rates.

So the growing population won't make up for the declining birthrates due to increased life expectancy? Every way you shake it there are inevitably going to be more people, more people, more people. And people who stay alive longer than they would normally have done still require resources to sustain them, no matter if they are having babies or not.

I live in a first world country, and all I have to do is look around to see that people are still having shitloads of babies that will have babies in 30 years that will have babies in 30 years. Ad infantitum.
posted by TheRedArmy at 8:38 AM on August 26, 2012


Surfers are going to line up for this one.
posted by Surfurrus at 8:40 AM on August 26, 2012


That and the fact that the bends are caused by too much Nitrogen in your blood which causes bubbles as you decompress, and has nothing to do with oxygen.

Any gas can give you the bends. Heliox divers get the bends, and you need a very different decompression profile, because helium enters (and exits) tissues much more rapidly than nitrogen. Heck, hydrox -- hydrogen/oxygen -- gives you the bends, and when you're diving 500m on hydrox, you better believe you have a decompression profile.

Too much oxygen, or to be more precise, too high a partial pressure of oxygen, causes oxygen toxicity. This is something divers have to avoid at all costs, because often the first sign of it is you have a convulsion, which results in you spitting out your regulator at depth, which makes the second sign of oxygen toxicity drowning.

However, at 1 atmosphere, that's rarely an issue. The usual onset is 1.6 bar PPO, which is about 8x the normal atmospheric concentration. Since 1 bar is about sea level pressure, you need to be in a hyperbaric situation to have the possibility of oxygen toxicity.
posted by eriko at 8:46 AM on August 26, 2012 [3 favorites]


TheRedArmy - Birth rates & population growth are long-term trends that are informed by many factors, and the short-term gains of sudden medical advances won't effect the numbers immediately - it's a generational, cultural shift.

I'm not an academic so I can't readily link to any statistics right off the bat, but it's pretty common knowledge that developed countries with high life expectancies have much lower birth rates than third world nations. Some are approaching near-stable or even declining populations. Rather than just taking an anti-science view on something based on an intuitive supposition informed by ignorance, if you really feel stongly about a thing, why not take the time to educate yourself?
posted by Devils Rancher at 8:47 AM on August 26, 2012 [6 favorites]


and all I have to do is look around to see that people are still having shitloads of babies

I'm no population scientist, but somehow I suspect that population growth is not calculated anecdotally.
posted by Coatlicue at 8:48 AM on August 26, 2012 [10 favorites]


So the world population is shrinking? I must be more out of touch than I thought. Please excuse.
posted by TheRedArmy at 8:51 AM on August 26, 2012


Ventilators already to a pretty good job

I was thinking of eg a baby being born who gets stuck or suffers another problem that cuts off flow through the cord, but before the baby can get a clear lungful of air. Giving the doctor a way to get the baby 10 minutes of oxygen there is the difference between normal life and death or serious brain damage.
posted by LobsterMitten at 8:54 AM on August 26, 2012 [1 favorite]


So the world population is shrinking?

That's an asinine mischaracterization of what I said.
posted by Devils Rancher at 8:55 AM on August 26, 2012 [1 favorite]


Well the feeling is mutual, minus the asinine. All I intended to express was that the population seems to be growing and that that may be an issue to consider some day. Apologies if I sounded crass or something.
posted by TheRedArmy at 9:02 AM on August 26, 2012


I was going to say what eustatic said. This is some seriously small time bench science stuff and very far away from anything that has to do with you and me. At any given time, there are literally thousands of promising projects like this that make it to this stage of development. The journal it was published in is extremely obscure and these articles look like someone is trying to hard to attract venture capital. This is a terrible post for Metafilter, as are all Miracle New Medical Cure! posts.
posted by Slarty Bartfast at 9:12 AM on August 26, 2012 [2 favorites]


Slarty Bartfast, I don't see why highlighting a really cool technology (even if it is unproven and in its infancy) constitutes a terrible post for Metafilter. The poster found it and thought it was pretty cool. Obviously lots of other people thought it was pretty cool given the number of favorites, and there's been some illuminating discussion about the R&D process and the biology behind this technology due to community participation. How is any of that bad?

Oh, and as for the technology having "far away from anything to do with you and me," I don't know about you, but very little of what appears on MeFi has anything to with me. And I like it that way. If I wanted to see things that had to do with me, I'd sit in my office or out back on the deck.
posted by GnomeChompsky at 9:18 AM on August 26, 2012 [1 favorite]


FTA, emphasis mine: Platform technology could be the basis for a start-up company. This technology could potentially be deployed in every ambulance, every operating room and every emergency room, and represents a large market opportunity.

It ain't entirely altruistic...
posted by Renoroc at 10:05 AM on August 26, 2012


TheRedArmy, I'm torn whether to flag this whole population thing as a derail, but many experts believe that the world will stabilize sometime in the second half of this century, after which a population decline is possible. That doesn't mean we shouldn't have concerns about population growth, but it's clear now that developing countries, even India, experience birth rate declines as individual wealth improves. Countries like Russia and Italy are actually losing population; the US would be if it were not for immigration. A lack of workers to support pension benefits is a key element in the current global economic crisis that is not expected to get better in the future. The problems with overpopulation, then, are not the dire emergency they were considered to be a generation ago ("Limits to Growth" era), but more of a regionalized problem to solve in terms of distribution of resources. I don't see how any of that figures into a concern that we should not develop our medical knowledge and technology or implement lifesaving innovations.
posted by dhartung at 10:05 AM on August 26, 2012 [1 favorite]


Oh fuck. This is like Cujo all over again, isn't it?
posted by DarlingBri at 10:13 AM on August 26, 2012


I wrote a short story in my teens. It was about this new liquid that replaced blood. The liquid was milky white. So this is not news to me.

Of course the liquid in my story gave you superhuman strength and drove you insane. So let's keep an eye on this stuff, okay?
posted by Splunge at 10:16 AM on August 26, 2012


I agree with Slarty that several of these articles are in creepy contentfarmish businessy sites, and cribbed from a PR document. But on the other hand, it is a cool idea, and if they are on their way to having a version that works, damn. I know people whose lives would be very different today if there were a way to administer ten minutes of oxygen without having an airway.
posted by LobsterMitten at 10:18 AM on August 26, 2012


The journal it was published in is extremely obscure...

It was published in Science Translational Medicine, a relatively new, and pretty hot, journal from the AAAS, a very reputable non-profit publisher, best known for publishing Science, one of the two best-known and highest-impact cross-disciplinary scientific journals.

In its fourth year of publication, Sci. Trans. Med. has an impact factor of 7.8; pretty exceptional for such a young journal.

To call it "an extremely obscure journal" is just wrong. This is a high-impact publication.
posted by mr_roboto at 10:23 AM on August 26, 2012 [3 favorites]


I'm not a believer, but I'm pretty sure this place is some other place's Hell.

Yeah but it's all we've got.
posted by glhaynes at 11:16 AM on August 26, 2012 [2 favorites]


Fertility is declining dramatically around the world, in a strong correlation with per capita GDP, already well below 2.0 in advanced economies other than the US. The trend indicates that population will stabilize and then go into decline. What could interrupt this is dramatic lifespan extension, reversal of GDP per capita increase, or a cultural shift such that wealthy people (in the global GDP sense) started to want more children, not fewer.
posted by MattD at 11:19 AM on August 26, 2012


Stalbach: he could get more oxygen from his lungs because of the epo doping.
posted by roboton666 at 11:25 AM on August 26, 2012


All I'm saying is that something published in an applied sciences journal is a long long way from human trials and light years from being available to you and me.

Metafilter is a general-interest web log and this is small study of someone's idea for something that has not been proven to be of use in humans. Sure it's interesting, but the poster explicitly states that this can be injected into a persons blood thusly allowing doctors to save their life. On closer inspection, thats not exactly true is it? And we have a thread full of "omg isn't science amazing?" and "oh shit what do we do about overpopulation?" If you are going to do science reporting to a general audience, should we not call you out for misleading people?

Esoteric topic, presented in a wholly misleading way = terrible post. The fact that they are trying to attract investors pushes this well into deletion territory.
posted by Slarty Bartfast at 12:03 PM on August 26, 2012


If this actually works (and new biomed innovations often don't translate to the clinic), it will, at most, buy the patient a few minutes. Though that could still be very valuable in critical care scenarios.

As several others have pointed out, rising CO2 levels will quickly become toxic. Basically, CO2 and O2 compete for binding in blood cells. So the more CO2 is present, the more O2 you need just to maintain equilibrium. But you can't keep pumping this foam in because 1) the liposomes and their lipids will build up, blocking capillaries and causing other such havok, 2) rising CO2 will cause acidosis, which is just all kinds of bad, and 3) as cenexo pointed out, high blood oxygen levels aren't so great for you either.

Don't you need to keep the blood pumping, even if the lungs aren't adding new oxygen?

Absolutely. If the blood isn't moving, the foam won't get distributed throughout the body and tissues won't get adequately oxygenated. Chest compressions are only about 20-30% as efficient at moving blood compared to the heart, and that's assuming good technique.

I think depending on the duration of hypoxia that sudden reoxygenation can actually trigger some amount of apoptosis.

Yep. See reperfusion injury.
posted by dephlogisticated at 12:12 PM on August 26, 2012 [2 favorites]


I'm finding this especially funny because I was reading "Herbert West: Reanimator" last night.
posted by Suddenly, elf ass at 12:36 PM on August 26, 2012 [1 favorite]


I wrote a short story in my teens. It was about this new liquid that replaced blood. The liquid was milky white. So this is not news to me.

Of course the liquid in my story gave you superhuman strength and drove you insane.


You know that was a subplot of Alien, right?
posted by Tell Me No Lies at 6:43 PM on August 26, 2012 [1 favorite]


If Lance Armstrong could have held out just a week longer, he could have had this awesome explanation. So close, lance, so close.
posted by wenestvedt at 7:02 PM on August 26, 2012


I think the post is good, and found the other articles interesting as well. Am I expecting to find it ambulances tomorrow? No, as it states the next step is animal trials.

Metafilter is a great place to get introduced to all sorts of interesting things happening in all corners of the world, and then see intelligent analysis/discussion about it. Where else can I learn about K-pop in one post and oxygen foam in another?
posted by herda05 at 7:47 PM on August 26, 2012


^ The journal it was published in is extremely obscure

^ All I'm saying is that something published in an applied sciences journal is a long long way from human trials and light years from being available to you and me.

Not that obscure, and not just any applied science journal - it's one of the Science family of journals and although the journal's less than three years old, the 2011 impact factor was 7.80. And the authors and their institutions were granted the patent earlier this year, so there's another step taken.
posted by gingerest at 8:36 PM on August 26, 2012


The journal is Science Translational Medicine. If you know what "Translational Medicine" is, could you please explain it to the rest of us? Or is it just a new buzzword?
posted by exphysicist345 at 8:50 PM on August 26, 2012


Where else can I learn about K-pop in one post and oxygen foam in another?

I hear that BB cream is AMAZING.
posted by maryr at 9:23 PM on August 26, 2012


Translational science "translates" basic science to real-world applications. In the case of biomedicine, that means bench-to-bedside: from the lab to clinical applications. I suppose it's a buzzphrase, but the idea is valuable enough to the National Institutes of Health that they restructured to create a center worth $576M in appropriations in 2011, including $10M for the Cures Acceleration Network. (Which is a funding authority intended to hasten development of disease treatment, rather than to cure acceleration.)
posted by gingerest at 9:54 PM on August 26, 2012 [2 favorites]


I believe that "translational research" is partially a new way of referring to "applied research", but without the value judgement that was sometimes used in talking about applied vs. "pure" research.
posted by lillygog at 3:56 PM on August 27, 2012


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