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 – and 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 prolonged 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 Physics 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 Phiz 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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