Super Chill: Suspended Animation Treatment
Remember in Star Wars Episode V: Empire Strikes after Luke gets frozen half to death, only hanging on to life thanks to quick thinking by Han and the toasty warm innards of a space llama (and yes, Star Wars nerds, I am well aware that they are called Tauntauns)? The good doctors of the rebellion drop his comatose body into a tubular tank of blue jello (also know as Bacta), hook a couple tubes into him and BOOM, he’s all better.
Now if you’re like me, you’re first reaction after seeing that was “why the hell are we going to all these stupid hospitals when we could just get a nice relaxing pudding bath and be healed of any and every ailment? This is medieval!”
Well your outraged wishes are at last answered and yet another idea from the mind of the visionary George Lucas is soon to become a reality. At least for trauma patients.
But how does it work, you may ask. Well not exactly how the Lucas version does. Suspended animation treatment is when trauma patients are cooled to the deathly temperature of 10 degrees Celsius. Just to put that in perspective, the normal human body temperature is 37 degrees and anything lower than 22 usually results in physiological systems and heart rate failure.
Suspended animation technology lowers the body temperature with a cooling saline solution that keeps the body in a near corpus state, ceasing blood pressure, pulse and electrical signals to and from the brain. The body can be essentially stored in this state for indefinite amounts of time thus giving doctors ample time to save their lives.
Suspended animation is not a new concept but it will be enter its human trial phase at Massachusetts General Hospital for the first time, a momentous step for any cutting-edge medical procedure.
A sci-fi saturated mind like my own thinks not of the thousands of lives this will save, but about what this could mean for the future of space exploration. If an embryo can be frozen for 13 years, like the curious case of Laina Beasley, and born a healthy baby, can a fully grown human body be frozen for 200 years and shipped across the galaxy and reanimated to populate a new planet? Only time will tell.
Posted in TechnoLogical