While suspended animation isn't new in the sci-fi world, doctors at the UPMC Presbyterian Hospital have been given the green light to test the concept (which they are calling emergency preservation and resuscitation) on victims of life-threatening knife or gunshot wounds. The idea is to stop almost all cellular activity to suspend life in these patients by rapidly cooling the body, which involves threading a large catheter into the aorta and replacing the person's blood with a cold saline solution.

This induced hypothermia should take about 15 minutes, but will buy surgeons a couple more hours to stop the patient's bleeding and to repair the injuries. After the procedure, doctors will bring the patient back from the dead by pumping blood back into the body, resuscitating the patient if needed, and allowing the body temperature to gradually return to normal levels.

Although some ethical concerns have been raised because patients and their families won't be able to give informed consent, the trial is exempt because subjects will be those suffering from likely fatal knife or gunshot wounds who are not responding to standard treatment. Overall though, the concept of suspended animation shows a lot of potential animal trials have shown promising results. If successful in the human trial, this technique could be useful in a number of medical applications in the future.

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