Fact Check: Can Science Bring People Back From The Dead?
While it may seem too good to be true, recent advancements in a University of Utah study have shown that it could be possible to bring people back from the dead. While this is major progress, there are also rifts in the scientific community regarding the purpose and outcome of this groundbreaking experiment.
After all, mortality is a concept that all of us have to come to terms with at one point or another. Though we eventually accept our fate, many of us still wonder what it would be like if we could reverse death. Science may have that answer for us.
In this article, we’ll explore how a group of scientists has turned mortality on its head by conducting experiments to reverse death by reanimating key neural components in eyeballs.
What does it mean to be brain dead?
By definition, being brain dead is when someone is no longer able to survive without life support or is unable to breathe on their own.
Such a state is considered irreversible, and a person is declared dead at this point.
However, new studies show that eyes will still respond to light up to five hours after death. It’s this fact that has sparked the inspiration for a number of related studies that question whether it is actually possible to reverse brain death.
Is it possible to bring someone back from the dead?
A group of controversial scientists has continued to explore the possibility of reversing death by reanimating neural components in eyeballs to varying degrees of success. The first study that we’ll explore is one published in Nature back in 2019.
In this particular animal study, the scientists were able to restart the circulation of major organs for four hours after the pigs had passed away. However, they were unable to create substantial communication between the neurons in the animals’ brains.
The study at Yale was not the first of its kind. Other scientists including Dr. Fatima and her team at the University of Utah conducted a similar experiment – and the results were promising.
At the beginning of their research, the team was able to revive the light-sensing neurons in the eye. Unfortunately, the cells did not communicate with the other cells in the retina because of the lack of oxygen.
However, an assistant professor of ophthalmology and visual scientists, Dr. Frans Vinberg, discovered a way to restore oxygen back to the organ donor’s eyes. After using new techniques, scientists were able to find “b waves,” which are electric signals only found in living eyes.
Past studies have shown restored very limited electrical activity in organ donor eyes, but only at surface level. None had been shown to the same extent that has now been demonstrated by more recent studies.
Can these studies help improve our vision?
Thanks to advancing vision technologies scientists can now get one step closer to immortality. The emerging technology will also help to improve the eyesight of living humans, potentially preventing harmful or degenerative diseases.
Scripps Research Associate, Professor Anne Hanneken expressed hope that patients will be able to enjoy advanced eye care and treatment, specifically around improving light- and vision-signaling in eyes that are affected by degenerative disease; whether age- or genetic-related. This could be revolutionary for the future of our eyesight.
Can reanimating eyeballs really reverse death?
Though these studies show promising results, it is too early to tell whether reanimating eyeballs reverse death. Until more research is conducted, reversing death remains impossible.