The first step to becoming a galactic species: a rat

We’ve seen it in dozens of movies, books, and sci-fi series (And in some news) As we travel through deep space, our ships travel long paths that connect us to other stars, humans. We should be hibernating.

The problem is, that’s easier said than done. At least until now.

Looking for a mole. Over the years, scientists They are studying ‘Tober’. A physiological state in which mammals suppress metabolism, lowering body temperature and slowing other processes to conserve energy. They do it not because of science fiction, but because slowing metabolism can be a wonderful tool in acute emergencies or serious illnesses.

However, in those years axe has been elusive. Mammals are very complex machines and, although researchers are finding clues to begin to understand how we can imitate other sleepers, reality always shows us that it’s a little more complicated than our models expect.

An idea that existed decades ago is finally possible today. Ahora, natural metabolism Post a job In this it was shown that a specific region of the central nervous system could be induced “by means of directed ultrasound pulses of a reversible state of sleep in mice and rats”: the preoptic area of ​​the hypothalamus.

as Explained at the Center for Science Media “We’ve known about this region’s role in regulating body temperature and its role in fever” for decades, says Domenico Dubone of the University of Bologna. What is interesting is that it becomes the first project to exploit this knowledge in a non-invasive way and it opens up a huge number of possibilities.

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But what exactly did they do? Hong Chen team has developed The ultrasound emitter directs 10-second ultrasonic pulses to the preoptic area. Thanks to this, the researchers caused an immediate drop in body temperature of several degrees (on average 3-3.5 degrees Celsius), and the heart rate and oxygen consumption of the mice decreased.

They were able to keep the animals in this position for 24 hours. Later, they were recovered with no signs of damage or discomfort. Not only that. The researchers tested the same system on mice (animals that don’t naturally hibernate) and found a similar response.

Are we close to putting people ‘in hibernation’? No, the truth is not yet. As Dupont said“Rats are very small animals compared to humans. The preoptic area of ​​the hypothalamus is a very deep part of the human brain and it is difficult to imagine that an extracranial stimulus would be effective in such a deep area without interfering with intermediate brain areas.” “.

That’s right, Duphone Approved “An implantable microdevice, similar to deep brain stimulation electrodes, can be implanted directly into the area. [la técnica de la que hablamos] Maybe applicable”. It is true that some “side effects”.

At least for now, for techniques to induce torpor in humans They lack precision and power. However, none of them are problematic enough to admit that we are on the right track.

In Xataka | Cryogenics is still science fiction, and there’s no guarantee it won’t stop.

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