MIT’s Technology Review is reporting that investigators led by Fumito Ichinose, a cardiac anesthesiologist at the Massachusetts General Hospital, have subjected mice to hydrogen sulfide gas to induce a state of suspended animation. This work one day might offer new therapies for patients undergoing cardiac, aortic and neurosurgical procedures with total circulatory arrest.
From the Technology Review article:
The MGH team believes hydrogen sulfide gas might work longer and better than cooling to reduce oxygen demand during these procedures. At a normal temperature, the researchers gave mice a low concentration (80 parts per million) of hydrogen sulfide gas. Within five minutes, the rodents’ oxygen demand was halved. Then their heart rate and breathing slowed. And the mice stayed in this suspended state for six hours. Two hours after breathing regular air again, their body functions returned to normal, and a day later they were behaving normally. By all appearances, the gas reduced their oxygen demand for hours–with no adverse effects.