Mark Roth Has Key to Suspended Animation, Closer To Immortality
As anyone who reads science fiction will tell you, suspended animation is where your body is put into a state of preservation, not really living, but not dead either. It’s like a chemically induced version of hibernation, and it could help you stay alive on the way to a hospital after getting seriously hurt. Mark Roth was part of a larger DARPA initiative to extend soldier survivability after injury on the battlefield. From that research, Roth discovered that hydrogen sulfide (H2S), in small quantities, would put mammals in what was essentially a state of suspended animation. Hydrogen sulfide is toxic (it was used in chemical warfare in WWI) but in the right doses it can actively bond to oxygen receptors in your body. Replacing the need for oxygen allows mammals to lower their metabolic rates to absurdly low levels, but once the H2S is removed animals recover without any nasty side effects. Roth has found then what seems to be the perfect formula for keeping people alive after trauma. His newly formed company, Ikaria, is currently in phase II clinical trials for a liquid hydrogen sulfide product. In just a few years, suspended animation may be a common tool in hospitals and trauma centers all over the world. It almost sounds too incredible to believe. Watch Roth give an enthusiastic and really enjoyable talk at TED 2010 in the video below that explains his work and its amazing potential.