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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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  • Re:Don't do it (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday December 07, 2009 @06:55PM (#30359584)

    What if it works, with 90% success rate?

    Here lies the danger.

    When they are doing it with real humans, and can revive 90% of the casualties, everyone would be rejoicing with echoes of "Hallelujah !!"

    But what about the 10% failure?

    What if, among the 10% failure there are those that are NOT dead, but unable to be revived?

    Just buried them?

  • Re:Brain damage? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by TubeSteak (669689) on Monday December 07, 2009 @07:07PM (#30359690) Journal

    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.

    Cooling the brain has been known for years to work miracles on minimizing head trauma and taming neurological conditions.
    There's no reason for soldiers who've received head injuries to not wear a cooling helmet for a few days after the trauma.

    Someone even took the idea and integrated chemical icepacks into motorcycle helmets [thermahelm.com] so that the brain immediately starts getting cooled upon impact.

  • by Citizen of Earth (569446) on Monday December 07, 2009 @07:09PM (#30359704)
    Really, this is how I see medicine in the future. If you suffer serious trauma, the paramedics will simply kill you at the scene and take your corpse to a hospital where the doctors will patch you up and resurrect you several hours later. If your hand gets mangled, they will simply hack it off, slather on some stem cells, and you'll over a few months, you'll just grow a new one.
  • by Usually Unlucky (1598523) on Monday December 07, 2009 @07:18PM (#30359790)
    Couldn't this be tweaked and used as a method of hibernation to stave off boredom and conserve supplies for long duration space flight?
  • Re:Brain damage? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by icegreentea (974342) on Monday December 07, 2009 @07:23PM (#30359828)
    Well, its not as clear cut as that. Current research (a google search away!) tells us that while its probable that inducing hypothermia in the the brain reduces neurological damage, we currently get somewhat contradicting studies suggesting otherwise. In the best case, it may turn out that cooling the brain is an extremely delicate task that must be carefully controlled. Given the level of precision apparently needed, it seems unlikely that simply plopping on a cooled helmet is the best way to go about reducing brain trauma.

    In any case, reducing circulation increases the chance of infection (important if there was actual head trauma in addition to brain trauma), and appears to raise the risk of blood clots and heart attacks.

    Doesn't mean its useless though. Just that like so many other medical ideas, its complicated. And just cause some company makes a product based on it, doesn't mean it works just like they say it does.
  • by FlyingBishop (1293238) on Monday December 07, 2009 @09:38PM (#30360892)

    Actually, this is almost exactly like the original African myths. A witch-doctor supposedly could feed someone a potion to put them into a false death, they would be buried and then dug up later, a slave to the witch doctor. There's probably even a thread of truth to the tales.

    The modern zombie is a more recent innovation, dating more or less to Dawn of the Dead. The real difference between this zombie and the mythic one is that here the human hopefully wakes up fully possessed of their senses.

  • Re:Brain damage? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by TubeSteak (669689) on Monday December 07, 2009 @10:06PM (#30361080) Journal

    In any case, reducing circulation increases the chance of infection (important if there was actual head trauma in addition to brain trauma), and appears to raise the risk of blood clots and heart attacks.

    Since you haven't cited anything specific, all I can say is that my understanding (which may be wrong) is that those risks apply to full body hypothermia and not to localized cooling of the brain.

    AFAIK, the best way to cool the head is with a circulating neck & head system + warming blankets to keep the body out of hypothermia, which minimizes the clotting and infection risk.

  • Re:Brain damage? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by aukset (889860) on Monday December 07, 2009 @11:05PM (#30361518) Journal

    In the field of EMS, we're (in NYS at least) by protocol asked to hyper-oxygenate patients with suspected brain injury in trauma patients that meet a certain set of criteria. The reason for this is to cause vasoconstriction within the brain, reducing blood flow due to vascular resistance and, in theory, slow internal bleeding. As far as I know, the literature on this is uncertain as to its efficacy, but the theory behind it is sound.

    Brain tissue can survive for quite a while in a state of hypoxia, compared to other tissues. What is most dangerous in a hemorrhage in the brain is compression of the tissue, as well as direct exposure to blood, both of which can cause necrosis. In fact, when the brain "detects" an injury, its usual response is to increase blood pressure, which is going to accelerate any hemorrhage and make the problem worse. Decreasing heart rate and blood pressure would be an advantage until surgical services are available to drain the blood and close off the source of bleeding.

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

    by Ihmhi (1206036) <i_have_mental_health_issues@yahoo.com> on Monday December 07, 2009 @11:59PM (#30361826)

    Well, if I'm shot in the foot, I'm sure as hell not gonna take that injection.

    If a bullet went through my lung and I know I'm well and truly fucked, I'll take the 10% death risk over the "let's see how long it takes medevac to get here" death risk.

    Disclaimer: IANAS(oldier).

  • by Xest (935314) on Tuesday December 08, 2009 @08:20AM (#30364108)

    "Interestingly, all you need to limit the immortal population is to allow a maximum of two children per parents (or maximum one child per person)."

    I agree it's a valid option certainly, but China has a different culture to us- here in the UK for example there would be uproar if you put a limit on child birth. What about accidental pregnancies beyond the limit- do you force an abortion because she already has 2 kids even if it's against the mother's will for example?

    "That is in fact quite a long time. 91 years ago was the time of first cars, planes and electronics..."

    It both is and isn't, you're right that we've done all that, but how much has the car changed? We're only just now slowly moving away from the combustion engine for example. Similarly we went to the moon 40 years ago, but we've really done very little by way of manned missions since.

    You're right that a lot has changed, but a lot has stayed the same also.

    "Also, thinking about it.... Does not "hibernation" technology also give you means to deal with growing population? Would not be bad if you get bored to hibernate until more interesting times. Putting to the extreme, you can hibernate large fraction of population until you develop technology to colonize the space :)"

    It's true but I would presume you still need to consume resources to achieve hibernation- bodies would have to be kept likely in temperature controlled environments and looked after such that even a body in hibernation is consuming at least some resources.

God doesn't play dice. -- Albert Einstein

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