A team of researchers, together with the head neuroscientist Nanad Sestan, managed to realize a remarkable scientific achievement. By using artificial blood, as well as some pumping mechanisms, they could keep the pig brains alive. This possibility raises many questions, such as the possibility to revive a human brain.
The pig brains were alive for 36 hours
For this research, scientists took between 100 and 200 pig brains, and started pumping oxygen and fluids to them. This way, they obtained a huge number of healthy brain cells they could extract from these tissues. Then, they used all these cells to keep the pig brains alive for an astounding period of 36 hours.
Before starting the experiment, Sestan connected the pigs that were about to be decapitated to a BrainEx machine. This measured the electrical waves emitted by their brains, and discovered they were still conscious. However, one particular wave showed they had actually entered a coma.
Afterwards, they could select those working cells and use them to keep the pig brains alive. This is remarkable as it is, but the scientists are quite optimistic. They think that, after improving this system, they would be able to extend the period a brain can be kept alive.
The pig brain experiment poses many ethical questions
Now, the next step is experimenting with rodent brains and, afterwards, with human brains. This might raise some ethical questions, since many people debate on the topic of bringing back a human brain to life. There are some laws on the topic, but they only concern living tissues. Therefore, experimenting with dead tissues should be fine from a legal point of view.
This experiment is now in the spotlight not only because of scientific innovation. People are entering heated debates on the ethics of the experiment, as they highlight a possible future for brain transplants. Also, they discuss the problem of keeping a brain alive even after death.
Image source: Max Pixel