A few months ago, we blogged about a technique that induced hibernation in mice. People were excited because of the potential for human hibernation, and with it, reduced oxygen demands after trauma, hemorrhage, or even chemotherapy. Reducing O2 consumption would mean less damage from an insult, and a greater chance to bounce back and recover.
So, naturally, we were disturbed to read about similar research being characterized like this:
In a series of nightmarish experiments straight out of a horror flick, scientists at a leading university have killed dozens of dogs — then brought them back to life…
…animal-rights activists last night slammed the research as “indefensible,” cruel and inhumane.
When the first adjective in the first sentence of a piece is “nightmarish,” readers can’t expect much objectivity. But still, going to PETA for a contrasting view is particularly troublesome. Not to take anything away from PETA, but is there any animal research they wouldn’t call indefensible, cruel, and inhumane?
The NY Post reporter at least managed to quote the lead investigator, Dr. Patrick Kochanek, on the point of his research:
He said his goal is to be able to put humans, such as critically wounded soldiers or stabbing or shooting victims, in a state of suspended animation for a few hours until they can receive proper medical help.
At this point, the reporter could have tried to calculate how many soldiers and trauma victims die because they can’t get to appropriate facilities in time. But instead, he apparently asked the director of the resuscitation center if he was “creating a race of zombie dogs fit for a Stephen King novel” (Kochanek ‘angrily denied’ the allegation).
It’s stories like this that make us wonder if we shouldn’t start doing our own reporting…
More at Pitt’s Safar Center for Resuscitation Research, including their new statement on ethics and practices…