Scientists Keep Pig Brains ‘Alive’ Outside the Body for 36 Hours
Researchers have kept the brains of decapitated pigs alive outside their bodies, opening up potential treatments for diseases like dementia and cancer.
Scientists have been quick to point out, however, that the development doesn’t mean humans will be able to cheat death.
A team led by Yale University neuroscientist Nenad Sestan circulated an oxygen-rich fluid through a pig’s brain, with Sestan telling a National Institutes of Health meeting that the animal was not conscious.
“That animal brain is not aware of anything, I am very confident of that,” he said, according to the Guardian.
However, he did warn about the ethics of the procedure.
“Hypothetically, somebody takes this technology, makes it better, and restores someone’s [brain] activity. That is restoring a human being. If that person has memory, I would be freaking out completely.”
Other scientists said although the development could not be used to keep human brains alive, it could be useful in researching the brain.
Frances Edwards, professor of neurodegeneration at University College London, told the Guardian, “It could be useful for studying connections between cells and at some level working out the network interactions in a large brain. There would be some advantages for imaging and certainly for developing imaging techniques.”