Researchers are training to activate old, hibernating neurons
When you travel the world in sci-fi stories, it’s part of the normal standard equipment aboard any well-formed spacecraft: devices with which passengers can be put into artificial hibernation—admittedly, even in fiction these systems rarely work smoothly. Here on Earth, researchers are currently trying to do the intricate preparatory work to develop such a system.
Researchers have found the “switch”: artificial hibernation in primates
With the exception of lemurs, primate bodies are not designed to withstand extended periods of significantly reduced metabolic activity, a condition known as hypometabolism. Simply put, the family of apes, and therefore humans, would like to hibernate, but they cannot. A research team led by Dr. Wang Hong and Dr. said Dai Ji from the Shenzhen Institute of Advanced Technology (SIAT) under the Chinese Academy of Sciences Phys Make a breakthrough here.
As the researchers describe, the first controllable “artificial hibernation” in non-human primates could be initiated through targeted activation of a group of neurons in the hypothalamus. d said. Day, one of the corresponding authors. “This is the first fMRI study to examine these functional connections at the brain level.”
Aimed at artificial hibernation
Then came the surprise: Targeted activation of certain neurons in this region reliably caused hypothermia in both anesthetized and awake monkeys. The first effect of neurostimulation: a significant decrease in core body temperature. Researchers explain: Neurons that trigger behavior are essential in thermoregulation in the primate brain.
Quotes Phys d. Wang, “With the growing enthusiasm for human spaceflight, this hypothermic monkey model is a milestone on the long road to artificial hibernation.”
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