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In the lab, l'hibernation, artificial is science fiction. ''There willà, from'Alzheimer's disease on space missions''

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In the lab, l'hibernation, artificial is science fiction. ''There willà, from'Alzheimer's disease on space missions''
SARZANA (SP) – Bedtime. Close your eyes. Experience progressive numbness of limbs and mind. And wake up weeks, months, or years più later, più lively and fresh than before. A scenario seen in many works of science fiction – from Interstellar to 2001: a space Odyssey, through to Avatar, and The sleeper –  seems toò to be very più concrete than you might think. Scientists call it hibernation, mundanes know it as hibernation. Perché, in end, this is what it is: a condition characterized by an extreme decrease in metabolism and body temperature, that allows you to survive periods più or less prolonged absence of resources. A sort of austerity physiological, in short, a superpower that many mammals – squirrels, groundhogs, mice, bears – have and implement spontaneously. And that several scientists around world try to replicate, and extend it artificially, species is not ibernanti. The ultimate goal, human beings. To take care of me, in Italy, è l’équipe Matteo Cerri, a neuroscientist dell’Università di Bologna, and collaborator of ’European Space Agency, who in a recent speech at Festival of Mind Sarzana told state dell’art and illustrated possible future scenarios.What do you mean exactly by 'hibernation', and how does it work?"it Is a natural process, popularly known as lethargy, which allows all’s body of some mammals to get close to a physiological state very close to death. In body of those who goes into hibernation re is a notable lowering of temperature, and a drastic reduction in breathing, heart rate, and metabolism: in this way it is possible to significantly decrease consumption of energy and survive long periods when re are few resources available. A little’, what happens to a computer that in order to save battery power when it is connected to mains supply, enters in stand-by. L’interesting aspect is that it is probably a characteristic of ancestral, that is; shared by all mammals: in fact, we believe that all mammals have group of genes that predisposes and allows you to deal with status of hibernation. The scientific challenge important is to understand whyé l’evolution have acted differently on species, by maintaining this capability; for some of m and causing her to lose to or."Everything on hibernation What happens to brain of those who goes into hibernation?"The understanding of what happens in brain during l’hibernation is one of aspects of più complex and delicate dell’s whole mechanism. We know with certainty that l’hibernate, from point of view of brain, is very different from states such as coma, sleep, or l’anessia, in which brain expresses a so-called activity; slow wave: neurons of cerebral cortex, essentially, synchronize, i.e. lose abilityà to più different tasks at same time. During state of hibernation, however, neurons maintain desync, but pace of operations is very slow: for this reason, we believe that animals are in hibernation to experience a subjective time is extremely dilated. A’anor feature that has been observed is that neurons tend to progressively disconnect, and n rebuild awakening broken connections and retrieve plasticità previous. And still: from biochemical point of view, in brain of animals hibernated, one can observe so-called hyperphosphorylation of tau protein, a phenomenon that also occurs in brains of sufferers of Alzheimer's disease. All se modifications n return quickly to normalityà shortly after waking up."Understanding natural mechanisms that induce all’s hibernation is a crucial step to attempt to artificially reproduce phenomenon. How to make animals 'understand' that è time to go into hibernation?"Also in this case, it is a very complex phenomenon. Basically, brain activates mechanisms leading to ’hibernate when you realize you are in a condition of negative energy balance, that is; when ’body spends more energy than I have available. Induce that condition in laboratory, animals ibernanti, is relatively simple: you canò use so-called strategy of work-for-food, in which l’animal, to obtain food, you must consume a bit’ più of energy that it receives from food itself. You canò also simulate l’arrival of ’winter, with a few hours of fasting in an environment that is slightly cold to trigger torpor."for a long time, she and her équipe worked on’ induction of artificial dell’s hibernation in non-ibernanti. How to do it? And what have you discovered?"We managed a few years ago, essentially inducing a state of hibernation, artificial in rats, animals in nature that do not possess this capacity. Our idea is to fool with a drug some neurons that are located in a specific area of brain, raphe pallidus. These neurons control amount; of energy that our body consumes, and, by getting m to make us consume less, it triggers a state very similar to hibernation."And human beings?"Before thinking to a possible transaction because it’human being – that among l’anor would open up ethical questions still to be resolved – we still need to understand many aspects of ’s hibernation. First of all, understand how much può last status: oretically it would seem that re are limits, but we do not know any side effects that may appear after long periods of ibernazioni. Anor delicate aspect concerns awakening, we still know little about mechanisms by which brain puts in place to induce’s exit from torpor. Only after having understood se and or aspects, willà to begin to consider l’application of technique to human beings."Perché are we doing that? What are applications?"The possible applications are many. In medical field, in first place: l’hibernation, artificial may be used by surgeons during interventions più complex, to allow different organs to survive even in considerations of low availabilityà of oxygen. Or – but è a’s hyposis at moment is very far away – you might think of using technique in patients awaiting transplants. Più realistically, study of ’hibernate willà to help better understand, among or things, mechanisms at basis of Alzheimer's disease – in virtù of analogies described earlier –": it seems possible to assume that a slowdown of disease in subjects hibernators. The same hyposis canò to formulate, between ’anor, for growth of a tumor. Also in field of space research and applications are very promising: possibilityà to induce’s hibernation in astronauts would face long journeys in space, circumventing problem of food supplies and of shielding from cosmic rays are harmful, from which l’hibernate seems to be a sort of protection."

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