BrainEx Restores Some Activity To Severed Pig Head

Researchers have succeeded in returning a bit of brain function to dead pig brains.

However, multiple observations from our lab and others have questioned the notion that widespread cell death is unavoidable minutes or even hours after blood flow stops. For example, live cells can be harvested from postmortem brains and cultured in a dish. This indicates itself that the postmortem brain may have the capacity to be revived.

[neuroscientist Nenad Sestan of Yale University] and his team developed a system called BrainEx - meaning brain ex vivo - consisting of three parts.

The first part is a synthetic solution designed to be pumped through the brain in a manner similar to the heart - perfusion - at body temperatures around 37 degrees Celsius.

The second part is the perfusion device itself, which pumps the solution and mimics the supporting organs. The final part is the surgical technique that allows the brain to be isolated.

The team then obtained 32 pig brains from a food processing facility, meaning no animals had to be killed for the research, and applied the BrainEx technology four hours after death, to model the effects of prolonged brain injury.

The brains were perfused for six hours. At this point, the team was able to observe a clear difference between the BrainEx brains and the control brains, which either weren't treated, or were perfused with a control solution.

"We found that tissue and cellular structure is preserved, and that cell death is reduced," Sestan said.

"In addition, some molecular and cellular functions were restored, including glial and vascular response to stimuli, as well as spontaneous synaptic activity along with active global metabolism."

(Via Science Alert.)

Fans of Golden Age great Edmond Hamilton know that in 1929 he described a scheme that allowed brains to be harvested and preserved - with full function!

From the living body of one of their number he removed the living brain, as their consummate art in Super-surgery enabled him to do. This living brain was then placed within a specially-prepared brain chamber of a metal body, inside its cubicle head.

Of course you know that the human brain is fed from the bloodstream of the human body. To replace this, they placed the brain in a special solution, having all the properties of Nursing the brain cells. This solution is usually renewed once a week, so it is always fresh, and therefore the brain never really ages.
(Read more about Brain Placed In Metal Body)

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