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Zombie Pigs First, Hibernating Soldiers Next 193

Posted by samzenpus
from the fattening-up-on-brains dept.
ColdWetDog writes "Wired is running a story on DARPA's effort to stave off battlefield casualties by turning injured soldiers into zombies by injecting them with a cocktail of one chemical or another (details to be announced). From the article, 'Dr. Fossum predicts that each soldier will carry a syringe into combat zones or remote areas, and medic teams will be equipped with several. A single injection will minimize metabolic needs, de-animating injured troops by shutting down brain and heart function. Once treatment can be carried out, they'll be "re-animated" and — hopefully — as good as new.' If it doesn't pan out we can at least get zombie bacon and spam."

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Zombie Pigs First, Hibernating Soldiers Next

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  • Brain damage? (Score:5, Informative)

    by thesandtiger (819476) on Monday December 07, 2009 @07:13PM (#30359140)

    One of the biggies in this war is Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) - surviving explosions, surviving shots to the helmet - I wonder if we'll be swapping out a lot of dead soldiers for ones suffering extreme brain injury.

    A friend of mine just came back from Germany. He lost both of his legs and has TBI caused mood swings like you wouldn't believe, and pretty much looks like it will wreck his family. Staving off death is one thing (and good); making life after injury worth living is another.

  • Oxidative damage. (Score:4, Informative)

    by spineboy (22918) on Monday December 07, 2009 @07:15PM (#30359160) Journal

    Most of these types of experiments have previously been in cryo-preservation - some scientist, in Boston I believe, has successfully frozen beagles, and brought them back to life.

    Anyway, In trauma surgery, the "Golden Hour" refers to the window of time, where massively injured patients can be saved from horrible injuries. After that, too much damage occurs, and the chance is severely diminished.

    So using H2S(hydrogen sulphide) should help stop oxidative reactions, extending the "Golden Hour", allowing the patient to be stabilized, and brought to a higher level of care, where they can be fixed up.

    Small side effect - H2S is basically the stench in Marsh gas, so these soldiers are going to smell like stink ass zombies for a while I think.

  • Re:Don't do it (Score:3, Informative)

    by larpon (974081) on Monday December 07, 2009 @08:18PM (#30359792)
    He just left4bacon
  • Re:Oxidative damage. (Score:3, Informative)

    by IdahoEv (195056) on Monday December 07, 2009 @08:38PM (#30359944) Homepage

    some scientist, in Boston I believe, has successfully frozen beagles, and brought them back to life.

    [Citation needed]. Sorry, that's just too interesting a claim to go uncommented.

    I believe that dogs have been cooled to near-freezing temperatures, cardiovascular function temporarily halted, and revived after a few hours. But their tissues remained unfrozen and their blood remained liquid the entire time.

    Nobody, AFAIK, has successfully frozen and revived a mammal.

  • and so it begins (Score:2, Informative)

    by mongrol (200050) on Monday December 07, 2009 @10:54PM (#30361004)

    They'll only reanimate the parts that watch TV, rent movies (repeatedly in a variety of formats, buy mobile phones (repeatedly in a variety of formats) and leave of the rest of the dissident free thinking ganglion parts dormant.

  • Re:Don't do it (Score:5, Informative)

    by Kral_Blbec (1201285) on Monday December 07, 2009 @10:57PM (#30361032)
    If they had to use the needle in the first place then they are in a situation where they are already going to die. Its not important how many die as a result of using it, its about how many survive thanks to it.

    its like the stimpaks back in StarCraft. Sure you might die after using it, but if you do its not because you used it, its because you got shot. However if you do use it then your chance of surviving, even though you were shot, increase.
  • Re:Damage Mechanism (Score:3, Informative)

    by DynaSoar (714234) on Monday December 07, 2009 @11:33PM (#30361264) Journal

    One of the main mechanisms for brain damage after injury to the brain is due to the neurons releasing their packets of neurotransmitters upon their death. So you have a good neuron right next to a big blob of toxic neurotransmitters. Then that neuron dies, too. It's a chemical cascade of dying neurons. Slowing down metabolism slows down this damage, as oxidation plays a large part. Ever see those people that drown in icy water, only to be revived after hours without oxygen, somewhat intact? Same thing.

    You're referring to apoptosis, "cellular suicide" caused by a signal from a nearby neuron dying. Parkinson's is one disorder that wouldn't occur except for this phenomenon.

    But forced release of vesicles, toxic neurotransmitters and hypothermic preservation (or lack of, or lack of equivalent)? I can tell you remember learning about it, and probably know what you mean, but you've got some details bent. The toxicities involved in apoptosis aren't metabolic processes, but they are slowed by cooling. Cooling can be done to reduce oxidative stress due to hyperoxia (too much oxygen) as well as ischemic insult from hypoxia (too little). We're just more aware of the latter due to the many reported cases of recovery from near drowning due to rapid cooling.

  • Re:Brain damage? (Score:4, Informative)

    by icegreentea (974342) on Monday December 07, 2009 @11:53PM (#30361432)

    There's one review of 6 studies here. http://www.entrepreneur.com/tradejournals/article/204205255_1.html [entrepreneur.com]

    If you look at the last page, you get this:

    Implications for Practice Hypothermia shows promise as a treatment of traumatic brain injury. However, there are several important points to consider when contemplating its use. Hypothermia as a treatment of traumatic brain injury should be utilized in hospitals with specialized neuroscience units that have continuous resident coverage. In addition, nurses are at the front line of initiating the treatment and must be properly taught to care for these patients. There are many potential complications of hypothermia that nurses must be aware of and trained to aggressively treat. The nursing care involved in caring for a patient with a severe brain injury is complex, and it is crucial that they have the support and appropriate nursing ratios to care for these patients.

    Granted, its from a nursing journal, so its going to promote the use of nurses. But it remains that just cooling people's brains nilly willy with ice packed helmets may not be the best idea.

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