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Suspended animation coming to life
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Suspended animation coming to life

Source: news.yahoo.com

A gas proven deadly in chemical weapons could one day be used to put people into life-saving suspended animation.

While hydrogen sulfide is toxic in large doses, small amounts of the gas have the potential to make animals appear dead for a while then allow them to wake up unharmed, according to biochemist Mark Roth.


By exposing mice to toxic hydrogen sulfide gas, molecular biologist Mark Roth triggers a latent hibernation response that seems to exist in all mammals.Photo courtesy of Dean Forbes

"I think we are on the path of understanding metabolic flexibility in a significant way," said Roth, whose work at an eponymous lab in Washington State has gotten funding from a research arm of the US Department of Defense.

"In the future an emergency medical technician might give hydrogen sulfide to someone suffering serious injuries and they might become a little more immortal giving them time to get the care they need."

Suspended animation takes place in the natural kingdom, with bears hibernating through winters while plant seeds and bacterial spores are able to biologically sleep for millions of years, according to the researcher.
It has also long been fodder for science fiction.

"Usually when I mention suspended animation people will flash me the Vulcan peace sign," Roth said while explaining his research at a TED Conference the ended here Saturday.

Roth found that hydrogen sulfide in bonds in spots in bodies that would usually be occupied by oxygen, ostensibly becoming a sort of dimmer switch for metabolism.

"We did it with a mouse; this was cosmic," Roth said. "We found a way to do this with a mammal. All you had to do was put it in room temperature and it was no worse for the wear."

Roth's lab has completed early phase human trials but hasn't actually tried the process in a person.

"We should know in a few years if it works or not," Roth said. "You want to plant a flag and people will come and then think about how to use it in other ways."

Article from: News.Yahoo.com



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TED 2010 Conference Makes for Strange Bedfellows

By Kim Zetter | Wired.com

Bedfellows were never more strange than those assembling this week for the annual Technology, Entertainment and Design (TED) conference launching Wednesday in Long Beach.

Avatar director James Cameron, Microsoft founder Bill Gates, former covert CIA analyst Valerie Plame, 4chan founder and provocateur Christopher “Moot” Poole and potty-mouthed comedian Sarah Silverman are among the eclectic mix of speakers that will rock the harbor town through Saturday.

The four-day, $6,000 a head, invitation-only event, dubbed “Davos for the Digerati set,” will gather industry titans, celebrities, academics and alpha geeks for its 26th year. This year’s overall theme is “What the World Needs Now,” with separate themes listed for each track of speakers.

Gates, who last year made headlines after releasing a handful of mosquitoes on stage to draw attention to malaria, will be speaking in a session dubbed “Boldness” about work being done by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to eradicate malaria.

Plame and Poole will both appear in a session dubbed “Provocation.” Poole will discuss 4chan, the online forum he created that serves as a haunt for would-be hackers and members of Anonymous — a motley, loose-knit crew of online rabble-rousers who have launched crusades against the Church of Scientology, the Australian government and others, while often missing their mark.

Other speakers include:

Temple Grandin, an autism activist and designer of livestock facilities, who is the subject of an HBO biopic with actress Claire Danes;
biologist Cheryl Hayashi will discuss the amazing properties of spider silk and its possible uses in protective armor for soldiers on the battlefield as well as biodegradable surgical sutures;
legal activist Philip Howard will take on the provocative topic of why the world can do without lawyers;
cell biologist Mark Roth will discuss the latest research into the possible use of hydrogen sulfide to reduce the metabolism of trauma patients and heart-attack victims to buy time until they can be treated;
and interface designer John Underkoffler will discuss the point-and-touch interface he invented.

[...]
The primary purpose is to cross-pollinate people from various fields to share knowledge about the latest developments in the sciences and arts and to inspire attendees to think imaginatively about their own contributions to the world.

The conference attracts a wide range of attendees, whose accomplishments and notoriety often rival the speakers -– Google founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin, musician Peter Gabriel and comedian Robin Williams have appeared at past events. Past speakers have included former Vice President Al Gore, filmmaker J.J. Abrams, Sims creator Will Wright and physicist Stephen Hawking.

Generally, one talk stands out each year as the crowd favorite, for varying reasons. In 2008, it was neuroanatomist Jill Bolte Taylor’s riveting account of a stroke she experienced years earlier. In 2006, Hans Rosling, a geeky professor of international health at Sweden’s Karolinska Institute, became the resident rock star for his surprisingly stunning presentation on statistics and the developing world.

Among the annual features of the conference is the TED prize, generally given to three recipients. This year it will be given only to one — celebrity chef and author Jamie Oliver. The prize is an annual award launched in 2005 to recognize individuals whose work has had and will have a powerful and positive impact on society. It provides each recipient with $100,000 and the chance to ask for help from the TED community in achieving one grand wish to change the world.

Past winners have included U2 singer Bono, former President Bill Clinton, oceanographer Sylvia Earle, astronomer Jill Cornell Tarter, and former economist and trained musician Jose Antonio Abreu.

Oliver will receive his award and reveal his wish at a ceremony Wednesday night.

Those who aren’t invited to TED can see the conference presentations as they’re posted to the web over several weeks after the conference ends. Since TED began posting videos of its talks in 2006, more than 15 million visitors have viewed them.

Earlier this year, TED launched a translation/transcription version of its talks.



Image: TheOuterLimits



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