After being dead for over an hour, the experiment caused the hearts of the pigs to contract once again.
Researchers were able, in an unprecedented experiment, to save pigs who had been deceased for over one hour. It raised questions about what the boundary between life or death is.
Yale researchers revealed in Nature magazine that they have restored blood circulation and cell activity to pig organs like heart and brain. They did this by injecting a specially-formulated solution into the bodies of dead animals.
OrganEx is a method that saw bodies infused with liquid that was made from pig blood, as well 13 compounds, such as anticoagulants. The solution, according to the scientists, “slowed the decomposition of the bodies and quickly restored some organ function,” making pig hearts contract again, with liver and kidneys demonstrating some activity.
Following being infected with contrast dye to aid scientists monitoring brain activity, the dead pigs began making unintentional body movements. This included jerking their necks and heads. Although the researchers couldn’t explain the cause, they suggested that these movements were not caused by the brain but rather in the spinal cord, which could control motor functions.
However, the system was able to preserve some brain tissue against damage but the animal’s consciousness did not return.
Nonetheless, Nita Farahany, a neuroethicist at Duke University in Durham, North Carolina, told the magazine that these latest experiments were “stunning.” While she cautioned that this study is preliminary, she said it supports the idea that some perceived limitations of the human body might be overcome in time.
According to Dr. Sam Parnia, an associate professor of critical care medicine and director of critical care and resuscitation research at NYU Grossman School of Medicine, this study is “It is truly amazing” and “This is a very important point.” “This shows that cells of mammalian organs, including the brain, do not perish after death.,” he told Science Media Centre.
He also highlighted that the research might contribute to blurring the boundaries between life and death, saying that the study demonstrated that “our social convention regarding death… as an absolute black and white end is not scientifically valid.” “Scientifically speaking, however, death can be reversed and treated for many hours after its occurrence.,” he added.
Their findings could eventually be applicable to the human body, according to Farahany. According to Farahany, the implications may be as “Deep” as the advent of CPR and ventilators, because the new method could potentially be used to save organs for transplantation or even resuscitate them.
Following a 2018 study, scientists restored cell function to several dead pig brains. Scientists also gained valuable insight into brain diseases and disorders through this research.