Documenting the Coming Singularity

Sunday, February 06, 2011

Mostly dead is still partly alive - The future of emergency medicine

Why should a shutdown of oxygen to the brain for more than 4 minutes result in irreversible death? Imagine if when you turned off your car for more than a few minutes, it became irreversibly damaged. Kind of a design flaw, wouldn't you say? What about if removing the battery from your smartphone for 4 minutes ended up killing its CPU? Ridiculous. So why do our brains go bye-bye under analogous circumstances?

As you'll see in this video, it turns out that it's not necessarily the lack of oxygen that destroys our brain cells. It's the reintroduction of oxygen that kills them. Lance Becker shows how "controlled reperfusion" can extend the boundary between life and death and allow patients to be successfully reanimated after longer and longer periods of oxygen deprivation.

Lance Becker: Modifying the Boundary between Life and Death from Singularity Institute on Vimeo.

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