Mark Roth: The Re-Animator
December 4, 2008 12:45 PM   Subscribe

Raising the Dead. When scientist Mark Roth's one-year-old daughter died after heart surgery, Roth obsessed clinically first about immortality, then about suspended animation, when all life processes temporarily cease. His subsequent research work -- placing yeast, nematodes, drosophila, frogs, and zebrafish into suspended animation (clinical death) for up to 24 hours, then reviving them unharmed -- earned him a MacArthur Fellowship and a Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) Award.

Roth's research "offers the possibility of important new clinical strategies for treating trauma, stroke, cancer, and a host of other conditions where temporary reduction in metabolism would provide much-needed time for physicians to address underlying problems."
posted by terranova (67 comments total) 39 users marked this as a favorite
From the article: "We just know what life does -- it burns oxygen. It's a process of combustion. We're all just slow-burning candles, making our way through our allotment of precious O2 until it becomes our toxin, until we burn out, until we get old and die."
Good stuff.
posted by anastasiav at 12:53 PM on December 4, 2008

and a Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) Award.

Well, here come the fast zombies. I'll be in my bunker.
posted by Inspector.Gadget at 12:55 PM on December 4, 2008 [15 favorites]

The work he's doing is cool, but man is that Esquire piece painful to read. It's like listening to an overexcited 13 year old.
posted by pombe at 12:58 PM on December 4, 2008 [11 favorites]

Hey guys!

Why are you running? Where are you all going?
posted by Astro Zombie at 12:59 PM on December 4, 2008 [18 favorites]

His process involves burying the dead animals in a pet sematary. Worked for most animals, except the ones that liked Ramones.
posted by qvantamon at 12:59 PM on December 4, 2008

I was promised a base on the Moon and Mars and flying cars in the 21st century, but I'll settle for conquering death.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 12:59 PM on December 4, 2008 [1 favorite]

I saw this movie. Creeped me out.
posted by From Bklyn at 1:05 PM on December 4, 2008

I know this,

This is how it starts. Big medical break through they say, gonna help so many people they say, think of the children they say. You don't hear about it at first, oh no. They got it locked down tight, cause nobody want to know. It just to wonderful to have such a horrible down side, they say. Then a report or two leaks through, maybe a family in Wisconsin has an incedent on a slow news day. By this time it's just too late, because this, this "miracle" is everywhere. Then the praise goes silent, and the screaming begins. One day you were drinking your coffee wondering what the hell the head coach of the Chargers is thinkin', next day your running throught the street with a bloody fire axe in your hand screaming for your daughter. You won't find her though, they already got her and you don't wanna see what they did.

So you can take your big breakthrough and stick it in your ear, cause I know what happens when you try to play God.

I'll be reading these when I get home, this stuff fascinates me
posted by The Power Nap at 1:08 PM on December 4, 2008 [17 favorites]

From late 2006:

A Japanese man has survived for 24 days in cold weather and without food and water by falling into a state of "hibernation", his doctor has said.

That's a real power nap
posted by jamjam at 1:16 PM on December 4, 2008

So it's like "The Fountain" meets "Pet Cemetary"... wait, weren't the russians doing this ages ago? (warning: video of severed dog head being kept alive via SCIENCE!) Sergei S. Brukhonenko was doing revival experiments with dogs way back in the 50s, draining the blood off and then reviving them some time later. And granted this was in the old-school Stalin's USSR, so I'm sure human experiments were around as well, just not on camera...
posted by FatherDagon at 1:22 PM on December 4, 2008

On a side note, I recently had the opportunity of meeting Jeffrey Combs, that actor from the Re-animator trilogy, and he's a super nice guy. It was at the Chandler Cinemas here in Phoenix about a month ago, and I brought along a drawing I'd done inspired by his films that I wanted him to sign. I didn't realized until after I'd lined up that he was charging (!!!) for autographs. When I got up to the counter, I let him know I wasn't aware and there wasn't an ATM in the near vicinity, but showed him the drawing anyways. He deftly swiped his pen from the cashier, signed it, and took a picture with me, all smiles and complimentary the whole time. I asked him if the rumors that they'd be doing more Re-animator movies in the near future (it says so on IMDB) and he said alas, no. C'est la vi.
I'd link to the drawing, but it's on Myspace and it's a self-link, so I'll refrain. It's pretty sweet though, if I don't say so myself. *grins*
posted by Bageena at 1:26 PM on December 4, 2008 [2 favorites]

Bageena, self-linking in comments is ok, especially if it's to zombie-related art!
posted by 5MeoCMP at 1:39 PM on December 4, 2008 [3 favorites]

I like the style of the piece. I don't mind attempts to make science seem cool.
However, I am scared of the man. This is exactly the formula for every mad scientist ever.

Brilliant (check)
Tragic backstory (check)
Misunderstood by society (check)
Scorned by his peers (check)
Wealthy (check)

All he needs is a white cat and laser and the UN is in deep trouble.
posted by BeReasonable at 1:42 PM on December 4, 2008 [11 favorites]

When You Care, When You Love
posted by languagehat at 1:42 PM on December 4, 2008

Oh sweet leaping Jesus. This guy looks like a younger version of Josef Fritzl.
posted by giraffe at 1:46 PM on December 4, 2008

I'm at work and I'm trying to pull the link using my phone, so let me know if this does or doesn't work. If it doesn't, I'll post it tonight when I get home.
posted by Bageena at 1:48 PM on December 4, 2008

We will never, ever conquer death. The universe itself changes, meaning that what it is we inhabit will go away and leave even immortals without a place to live. Either the big crunch will destroy us in a fantastic smash up, or the universe will suffer energy death, leaving us without means to survive.
posted by Ironmouth at 1:50 PM on December 4, 2008

See Also.
posted by rusty at 1:50 PM on December 4, 2008

Death is life's greatest gift to the future.

-The second law of thermodynamics
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 1:52 PM on December 4, 2008 [6 favorites]

The writing tries too hard to be cool and crosses over the line into inane. Shame, too.
posted by seanmpuckett at 1:54 PM on December 4, 2008 [1 favorite]

Ironmouth - There's a difference between immortality and invulnerability. Living as long as we like without having to fear aging or "natural death" sounds great. As long as the option of death is present, anyway.
posted by explosion at 1:58 PM on December 4, 2008

For clarification (and to put a dampener on dreams of the living dead), this is not bring the dead back to life. This is putting life on hold.

One idea is that someone can have a terminal illness with no known cure, and they can be put into hibernation until a cure is found. There are odd stories where a loved one chooses to be frozen instead of dying, and the family must keep their ice chest maintained until a cure is found (and a way to bring them back is also found). The wiki page on suspended animation is pretty interesting, if for nothing more than the list of places where suspended animation is used in fiction.

If anything, the frozen being brought back to activity is more like the rage zombies in 28 Days Later. They never died, they just ... changed.
posted by filthy light thief at 1:59 PM on December 4, 2008

needs What Can Possibly Go Wrong tag
posted by Avenger at 2:05 PM on December 4, 2008 [6 favorites]

Really bad writing. Couldn't get very far.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 2:07 PM on December 4, 2008

Crap, the link to my drawing is totally borked. @#$@%. That's what I get for posting all my art on Myspace which is, of course, inaccessable from work.
posted by Bageena at 2:13 PM on December 4, 2008

12/4/2008 Lab notes: Reprodcued results with Zebrafish – they return to life, but EVIL. Must investigate difficulties re:freezing of the soul.
posted by Artw at 2:18 PM on December 4, 2008 [3 favorites]

(The correct bad movie to reference is Chiller(1985, dir Wes Craven), for those wondering. )
posted by Artw at 2:20 PM on December 4, 2008

Just wait til you get to the evil ducks and evil swans.

"quack ...quack ...quack."
posted by The Whelk at 2:22 PM on December 4, 2008

Swans are already evil.
posted by Artw at 2:22 PM on December 4, 2008 [1 favorite]

Amazingly, that writer is widely acclaimed. But clearly, he should avoid science writing or get himself an editor. It reads like he was paid by the word on an unlimited budget.
posted by Maias at 2:25 PM on December 4, 2008

It's your responsibilty to die. New people won't stop turning up so accept your lot, make way and become comfortable with feeding live immortalists into cremation ovens.
posted by vbfg at 2:30 PM on December 4, 2008

But if they were dead, where did their souls go?
posted by LordSludge at 2:46 PM on December 4, 2008

The Lost Souls Room.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 3:01 PM on December 4, 2008 [3 favorites]

Brilliant (check)
Tragic backstory (check)
Misunderstood by society (check)
Scorned by his peers (check)
Wealthy (check)

All he needs is a white cat and laser and the UN is in deep trouble.
posted by BeReasonable at 4:42 PM

You forgot:

Crazy hair (check)
posted by marxchivist at 3:01 PM on December 4, 2008

It's your responsibilty to die. New people won't stop turning up so accept your lot, make way and become comfortable with feeding live immortalists into cremation ovens.

Some of you wish to become "immortal" by having children and passing on your genes.

There are those of us who are perfectly happy never having children, and I'd like to sample a bit of that classic immortality, thank you very much.
posted by explosion at 3:12 PM on December 4, 2008 [1 favorite]

His hair may be crazy, but his eyes are pretty calm. And that's not the "hidden crazy" calm, just "content with life" calm. Plus, that's more of unkempt hair, than "constantly running fingers covered in scientific goo" hair.
posted by filthy light thief at 3:14 PM on December 4, 2008

Great topic, but why did the writer think it was appropriate to imitate a breathless twelve-year-old's response to the latest Tomb Raider preview?
posted by CheeseDigestsAll at 3:17 PM on December 4, 2008

I have a tag for this on delicious, it's called "impending.doom"
posted by yeloson at 3:22 PM on December 4, 2008

Anyone else thinking of the ending to The Monkey's Paw?
posted by availablelight at 3:25 PM on December 4, 2008 [1 favorite]

I know it's been said before, but don't want to achieve immortality through my work, I want to achieve it through not dying.
posted by RussHy at 3:25 PM on December 4, 2008 [1 favorite]

Swans are already evil.

So are ducks. You haven't been truly disturbed until you've witnessed a 5 on 1 duck gang rape in a public park, surrounded by screaming 4 year olds.


Hold me.
posted by TungstenChef at 3:30 PM on December 4, 2008 [1 favorite]

Last spring my dad had a heart attack. 5 AM and my brother called. I let it go to voicemail because, you know, 5 AM. Then I checked the message: "Hey bro, Dad had some kind of seizure. He's in the hospital now and they're working on him. Mom's kind of a mess. You should get up here as soon as possible." Fuck. We had talked the night before when he had gotten back from a trip to sit with my grandfather, who was on his deathbed. I was expecting that call, not this one. So much so that I had to listen to the message twice before I could register that this was dad we were talking about.

Then the icy fear sets in. My girlfriend is throwing clothes into a duffel bag and ticking off the things that need doing. Cancel class. Arrange for someone to feed the birds. Rent a car. I'm sitting in the middle of the bed and the stark terror of what might have happened is sucking at my legs like a tar pit.

We drive like hell the three hours north to get to the hospital. My brother meets us in the lobby, in tears. Heart attack. They just performed last rites. Everyone is a mess.

When I enter the room in the ICU, it's like a movie. But it's not a movie, because I don't know how this ends. There are no plot cues to pick up on. No craggy faced MD to give us the prognosis. No spunky resident to reassure us. Just a bunch of grim faces and trembling hugs.

And dad. He's stripped to the waist and covered in a blanket. There's a nasty bruise on the side of his head where he hit the nightstand. Mom heard him flailing, pushed him out of bed, and started chest compressions immediately. This will be the first of several things that save his life. But that's days away. Now, I move forward and touch him with trepidation because we're not that kind of family and this is probably the first time I've seen my father in any state of significant undress since I left diapers. But I touch him. He's icy cold. I mean icy. And his breathing through the respirator is slowed way down.

For the first time, I notice that there's a tube running down his inner thigh to a large wheeled apparatus at the foot of the bed. I'm informed that this is a refrigeration machine and that his blood is being circulated through it to cool his body temperature down and to slow his metabolism. He's been given an anti-convulsion drug, or else he'd be shivering violently. Over the course of 3 days, they will lower his body temperature, give him time to heal from his massive heart attack, and then raise it back up, eventually bringing him out of a coma when they're confident that his heart is strong enough.

This is, we're told, a procedure developed first to prevent neurological damage in stroke patients. Several hospitals around the country have started using it for cardiac patients as well. It started at this hospital less than 6 months ago.

Eventually, dad will come out of his coma and his cardiologists will find that he has massive arterial blockage and will need a quadruple bypass. As he comes to, he's got severe short term memory loss. It's like Memento. Everything has to be repeated to him every 15 minutes or so. The hotshot cardiologist who has to explain, repeatedly, that he needs bypass surgery finds this much less amusing than we do. There's no way we can tell dad that grandpa passed away while he was in a coma, so we're tiptoeing around that until he figures it out on his own. But mainly, we're just watching. And waiting. Hoping that he comes back completely.

And, over the course of weeks and months, he does. So much so that his cardiologist will pronounce him, only six months after his open-heart surgery, a complete recovery. My mother's quick thinking, the fact that his EMTs used a new form of CPR that employs only chest compressions and skips the pause for breathing, and the coma he was put into immediately upon arrival in the hospital will have saved his life and his mental function. A doctor will later pull us aside and tell us that had it not been for the last of these, his body may have been saved, but his brain damage would have been so severe that we'd now be debating whether or not to keep him alive on a respirator.

Unbelievable luck. My dad died. He went to the other side for 11 minutes and then lingered in Hades' antechamber for three full days. Mark Roth, or a scientist like him, saved my father's life. We make zombie jokes with him too. You cannot imagine how grateful I am to hear him laugh at them.
posted by felix betachat at 3:34 PM on December 4, 2008 [309 favorites]

Shades of Ronald Mallett.

(And every time we post a story from Esquire people complain about the writing.)
posted by dhartung at 3:35 PM on December 4, 2008

One of Roth's more prominent papers here (Science, need privileges):

"We report that hydrogen sulfide can induce a suspended animation-like state in a nonhibernating species, the house mouse (Mus musculus). This state is readily reversible and does not appear to harm the animal."

Mice given H2S could be cooled down to 15°C into a state of suspended animation for up to six hours. Since it was previously thought that a core body temp below 20°C in non-hibernators (like mice and men) would lead to cardiac fibrillation, this was a significant advance in the field.

Pretty impressive stuff.
posted by kisch mokusch at 3:37 PM on December 4, 2008 [1 favorite]

I would just like to know what steps I should take if to qualify my obsessions as "clinical."
posted by Stonestock Relentless at 3:41 PM on December 4, 2008

Roth's research "offers the possibility of important new clinical strategies for treating trauma, stroke, cancer, and a host of other conditions where temporary reduction in metabolism would provide much-needed time for physicians to address THE LACK OF FLYING CARS."
posted by Stonestock Relentless at 3:44 PM on December 4, 2008

I don't mind attempts to make science seem cool.

See, the thing is, science is cool. The only people who might need somebody to make it seem cool are planetarium-hating troglodytes like John McCain and his ilk.
posted by FelliniBlank at 3:44 PM on December 4, 2008 [7 favorites]

That was a great story felix betachat (in that it was very well told). Thanks for taking the time to share it, and all the best to your dad.
posted by TungstenChef at 3:50 PM on December 4, 2008

Death is life's greatest gift to the future.

-The second law of thermodynamics

Let's not forget the fourth law of thermodynamics: The metaphorical application -- appropriate or not -- of the first three laws to everything else.
posted by delmoi at 4:12 PM on December 4, 2008

Let's not forget the fourth law of thermodynamics: The metaphorical application -- appropriate or not -- of the first three laws to everything else.

Life is a quantum fractal.
posted by Artw at 4:14 PM on December 4, 2008 [1 favorite]

Be careful what you wish for, folks.
(2BR02B - Vonnegut)
posted by The White Hat at 4:20 PM on December 4, 2008 [1 favorite]

Relevant This American Life story:

Mistakes Were Made

n the late 1960s, a California TV repairman named Bob Nelson joined a group of enthusiasts who believed they could cheat death with a new technology called cryonics. But freezing dead people so scientists can reanimate them in the future is a lot harder than it sounds. Harder still was admitting to the family members of people Bob had frozen that he'd screwed up.

Not So Relevant Comic:

Frozen Fresh Bonus Pack
posted by The Whelk at 4:36 PM on December 4, 2008 [2 favorites]

IIRC there was a pretty awesome post about that (too lazy to look it up). It's an amazing story.
posted by Artw at 4:38 PM on December 4, 2008

Whelk: you should check out Crionics: Death in the Deep Freeze.
posted by Dark Messiah at 4:52 PM on December 4, 2008

felixbetachat: thanks for this extremely well-told personal story. scientific miracles are happening now. i'm glad your dad made it!
posted by subatomiczoo at 6:22 PM on December 4, 2008

*coughcough* Ok, now that I'm home, here's my re-animator drawing. Other zombies drawings I've done here and here.
posted by Bageena at 10:10 PM on December 4, 2008 [3 favorites]

I disagree that the Esquire piece was irritating -- though I don't begrudge anyone their right to think so. I thought it was great. It was very clear and easy to follow, and the excitement in the writing mirrored what I imagined it must be like when Roth is talking someone's ear off about it. It could have easily been ponderous and confusing, so I appreciated the simplicity of it.

This bit in particular I loved: "Gorking is...well, gorking. You take away some creature's supply of oxygen, you're gorking it, man." Nothing else really needed to be said for me to get it.
posted by Nattie at 2:02 AM on December 5, 2008

felix betachat, great story. As someone whose father died of a heart attack in an isolated location in a foreign country, it makes me quite sad. I'm happy for you and your family. The future is coming.

However, the writer of this article needs to be slapped. There was no science in my science story! I have absolutely none of the information needed to decide what I think about this man, his work, or the results.
posted by threeturtles at 9:32 AM on December 5, 2008

I had an experience very much like felix betachat's.

My dad had a heart attack and collapsed in the shower at 11pm. My mom heard the thud and immediately called 911, but was unable to start CPR because she couldn't pull dad out of his slumped position in the tub. The parametics arrived, and began trying to resuscitate him. It was over 20 minutes between the initial 911 call and when they finally got his heart beating again. Brain cells begin dying after 8 minutes without oxygen.

In the E/R, he was immediately hooked up to an Arctic Sun machine to cool his body temperature to 91 degrees. (The machine displayed it as about 33 degrees C, which led to some amusing confusion when my grandmother told friends and extended family that dad was being held at 1 degree above freezing. Heh.) It was a new treatment, one the hospital had only been trying for a couple months. After maybe 6 hours, the cardiologist came to tell my mom and me that dad wasn't going to make it. They would keep up the cooling treatment, but people don't come back after 20 minutes of cardiac arrest.

The next day, dad was still unconscious in the ICU, skin icy to the touch. We held his hands anyway. Even with heavy sedatives and paralytic drugs, his body would occasionally convulse with shivers. An EEG showed his brain activity at a level of "2," whatever that means. The neurologist told us that 0 is brain dead and 12 is normal. She reiterated that people don't survive what dad went through. But we would continue the cooling, and see how things went.

5 days later, dad was back to normal temperature but still at a 2 on the brain wave scale. Not conscious, not responding to pain. Watching the neurologist squeeze a wooden stick into dad's fingernails every morning to see if he would flinch was so horrible, half because I didn't want anyone inflicting that kind of pain on my dad, and half because I was wishing with all my might that he would feel it. We had talked to cardiologists, neurologists, intensivists, and they all told us the same thing: time to start thinking about palliative care, because he wasn't going to wake up. We talked them into waiting two more days.

2 days later, it was the day we were supposed to make a decision. Remove the feeding tube, turn off the ventilator, say goodbye. That was the plan, because we hadn't seen any change. The priest had done last rights, and all the close family had had their private moments with dad. I even asked Mefi for suggestions on how to handle everything.

And then, that very day, dad began responding to pain. We would put chapstick on his lips every few hours because they were terribly dry and cracked, and for the first time he moved his head away as we tried to apply it. When we excitedly showed the neurologist, she actually looked more worried than ever. My mom asked whether she'd ever seen anybody survive a similar situation, and the doctor replied, "Once. But it was not a good outcome." She elaborated that this patient had needed 24-hour care, had none of his personality left, and could not even communicate. It was obvious that death was a preferable option.

Over the next several weeks, dad became more and more aware. He woke up, and would talk to us more and more, but like felix's dad he could form no short-term memories. It was alternately heartbreaking and hilarious. But every day he improved noticeably, and therapists began working with him. At first it was a struggle for him just to wiggle his toes 10 times in a row, but eventually they got him up and walking. His memory gradually returned, though he still doesn't remember the month preceding "the incident." To make a long story slightly shorter, I'll fast forward and say that 2 months later he was home and living a normal life.

Dad's heart stopped 2 years ago this Christmas, and the neurologist still shakes her head in amazement every time he comes in for a checkup. These advances aren't mind-boggling just to normal folk like us, or to over-excited magazine writers. Even the doctors think it's beyond belief. I am so thankful that there are outside-the-box thinkers like Roth working on these projects. I know that human immortality is a terrible idea for the future of the planet, but keeping a life from being cut unnecessarily short is still an admirable goal. Stuff like this helps a guy live past 59 years, gives him a chance to see his daughters get married, lets his wife enjoy his company into old age. Make all the zombie jokes you want, but I am so very thankful that my Papa Bear came out of hibernation.
posted by vytae at 10:17 AM on December 5, 2008 [33 favorites]

It was over 20 minutes between the initial 911 call and when they finally got his heart beating again. Brain cells begin dying after 8 minutes without oxygen.

It only makes your dad's recovery all the more amazing if, as I have read, that the 8 minute figure only applies when a person quits breathing but the heart keeps beating, and that when the heart stops, brain cells start dying immediately.
posted by jamjam at 10:52 AM on December 5, 2008

Yeah, some of the reading I did afterward suggested that the cells actually just start the process of dying after that short period without oxygen, but even that takes some metabolic work to accomplish. If you cool the body (and the brain), it's almost like they don't have the energy to finish dying. Waiting before gradually re-warming the person seems to short-circuit the cell death, like the cells forget that's what they were doing before they got cold, so they go back to business as usual once they get warm again. Obviously I'm anthropomorphizing and over-simplifying, but that's the gist of what I remember. More info here and here.
posted by vytae at 12:23 PM on December 5, 2008 [1 favorite]

Some amazing stories in here. Thank you for sharing.
posted by inigo2 at 1:19 PM on December 5, 2008

Thanks vytae and felix betachat for sharing your experiences! This is actually an area of interest for me (having cooled a few patients in the ICU and been involved with some research) so I was pleasantly surprised to see this on metafilter.

This process of 'therapeutic hypothermia' post cardiac arrest is now standard-of-care at most (if not all) of the major hospitals in Toronto as well as some of the peripheral hospitals. We actually now get the process of cooling started in the ER before transferring the patient up to the ICU. One of the neat things about this, I think, is that it does not need fancy equipment like the Arctic Sun mentioned above (although this does make it less labour intensive). We cool with ice packs, wet blankets and cooled IV fluids and it works surprisingly well. I don't know if we have any good stats for the improvement in morbidity and mortality for the Toronto hospitals but there is quite a lot of evidence from elsewhere that therapeutic hypothermia significantly improves neurological outcomes after cardiac arrest.

As alluded to above, one of the things we are not very good at is prognosticating outcome while the patient is being cooled or even days after. One of the confounding issues is that we sedate and paralyse these patients during cooling and it can take up to a week (depending on many factors) for all of the drugs to have cleared out of their system to the point where we can really get a good idea of their level of functioning.

Funny how all of this can sound so futuristic and yet, when you get down to it, it's just good, solid medicine.
posted by madokachan at 6:37 PM on December 5, 2008 [2 favorites]

hey, i remember reading about something like this in newsweek :P

posted by kliuless at 12:13 PM on December 6, 2008

This is fascinating stuff, and it'll be interesting to see what happens with paramedic practice if therapeutic cooling becomes the standard of care: we already heat IV bags in the rig, and it's not that far-fetched to imagine us cooling them.

As a side benefit for those of us who sweat a lot, it'd let us turn the heaters down in the rig. We understand that patients like to be warm, but, dang, it's like the surface of the sun out there for us. The dials on the patient compartment heaters in ambulances have three settings: "off", "too hot", and "Kalahari" (the ones in the driver's compartment say "put on a sweater" and don't work at all).

Anyone's who's been a patient in an ambulance, and shocky, may have been wondering why the hell, when it's FREEZING, the medics were sweating like something out of "Airplane". That's why: we've got the heat up to seventeen hojillion and you guys are still shivery, like that one grandma everyone has who still thinks it's cold after you've turned the heater up five times. On the other hand, we don't really mind: if you're awake and complaining about the temperature, we're doing something right.

Of course, once word of the cooling therapy really gets out, we're going to have to contend with an epidemic of people who pass out at parties getting pounded on the chest, stuffed into the bathtub and, "for their own good", covered with ice by their friends. It'll bring a whole new dimension to "oh my God, what did I do last night?": waking up hypothermic, hung over, naked and covered with mysterious bruises in a strange bathtub.
posted by scrump at 5:07 PM on December 6, 2008 [5 favorites]

Some great threads here.

It strikes me that this might finally lead to the science-fiction case of suspended animation in a different way.

The trouble in cooling seems to be that the cell walls get disrupted when the temperature gets to 4 degrees and it starts to expand. And up until now they've tried to do it "fairly fast" - in a few days.

But if what we are reading is true, we might have a long, long time at a cold temperature (God, I don't want to think about it) - long enough we could bring the body down to 0 Celsius over months or years so the volume would only grow very gradually and the cells would adjust.
posted by lupus_yonderboy at 12:41 PM on December 9, 2008

Has no one mentioned yet the episode in Season One of House with the little girl and they cool her, induce "death" and then rewarm her to find a clot in the brain? That was seriously awesome.

(Also, much love to felix betachat and vytae's families - thanks for telling your stories, this was an amazing addition go the thread.)
posted by grapefruitmoon at 2:59 PM on December 27, 2008

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