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Scientists at Yale University have developed a device that can restore circulation and cellular activity in a pig’s brain four hours after death, raising ethical questions about the possibilities of one day applying it to humans.
BrainEx is an open-source device originally based on CaVESWave, a system developed by Biomed Innovations of North Carolina to preserve donated organs for research or transplantation.
Scientists - Pig - Brain - Solution - Circulation
The scientists perfused the pig’s brain with a specially designed chemical solution to restore circulation and cellular activity, challenging long-held assumptions about the timing and irreversible nature of the cessation of some brain functions after death. Their study was published April 17 in the journal Nature, and a detailed report on their work appeared July 2 in the New York Times Magazine.
The Times article described BrainEx as “roughly eight feet wide and mounted on the shelves of a long metal hospital-style cart… less a single machine than a bristling collection of individual machines, each connected to the next, in a simulacrum of the human body.” A pulse generator mimics the heart, filters work as mechanical kidneys. Another portion works like lungs to add oxygen to the perfusate.
Research - National - Institutes - Health - Brain
The research, funded primarily by the National Institutes of Health Brain Initiative, has raised ethical concerns about the possibilities for future studies — including those on the human brain.
The Yale scientists said they harbor no such plans, and have not published photos or exact descriptions of the BrainEx device. They also stressed that the treated brain lacked any recognizable global electrical signals associated with normal brain function.
Brain - Mammal - Capacity - Restoration - Circulation
“The intact brain of a large mammal retains a previously underappreciated capacity for restoration of circulation and certain molecular and cellular activities multiple hours after circulatory arrest,” senior author Nenad Sestan, professor of neuroscience, comparative medicine, genetics, and psychiatry, said in a Yale news release.
“At no point did...
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