By: April Carson
Scientists have successfully "reversed death" by bringing eyes back to life.
Eartracks' eyes were taken five hours after death from organ donors, and the responses to light revealed. Electric activity that only occurs in the living was detected.
"What we have done is revive the cells to a state that is very reminiscent of what they were doing when they were alive," said study author Dr. Shawn Jeannis.
The findings suggest that it may be possible to bring other organs back to life after death.
The researchers state that “it raises the issue of whether brain death, as presently defined, is truly irreversible.” When someone lacks the ability to breathe independently and survive without life support, they are said to have died from brain failure.
It is irreversible, and thus a person is declared dead. The work of the team might be applied to other tissues in the central nervous system, such as the brain or spine.
"This is pretty mind-blowing stuff," said study co-author Dr. Andrew Dillin. "It raises a lot of ethical issues that need to be discussed."
The team is now working on ways to extend the time window for restoring organ function after death.
"I think this could have a huge impact on transplantation and regenerative medicine," Dillin said. "It's a new way of thinking about death."
The lead author, Dr. Fatima Abbasouli of the Moran Eye Centre at the University of Utah said: “We were surprised that we could revive photoreceptor cells in people's maculas." The macula is responsible for central vision and seeing fine detail or color.
According to a study, some death neuron activity can be restored up to five hours after an individual has passed. For the experiment, eyes were obtained from organ donors and it was found that neurons responded to light stimuli such as bright light, colored lights, and dim flashes of light.
According to a study published in Nature, Yale University was able to breathing life back into the dead brains of pigs. This highly controversial scientific research is looking into how they can reverse neuron activity to bring people who have died back to life.
Scientists were able to circulation the blood of many organs only four hours after the pigs had been slaughtered. However, they were not able communicate between neurons- something University of Utah students have accomplished.
The process of reviving a dead brain is not only possible, but it has already been done by scientists. In fact, this radical new experiment was able to successfully bring dead eyes back to life.
Light-sensing neurons (photoreceptors) in the eye could initially be resuscitated by the research team. However, the cells did not communicate with one another in the retina - the tissue behind the eyes that gathers light and transmits images to the brain.
They discovered that insufficient oxygen was the problem. By adding a chemical that re-oxygenates the cells, they were able to get the photoreceptors firing and communicating with other neurons in the retina.
Dr. Frans Vinberg, an assistant professor of ophthalmology and visual sciences, discovered a way to oxygenate organ donor eyes. When the team tested this method, they saw electrical signals (called the “b wave”) that are only present in living eyes!
We have made the first recording of b waves in the eyes of deceased people. Dr. Frans Vinberg, an assistant professor of ophthalmology and visual sciences said: "We stimulated the retinal cells to communicate with each other like they do when someone is alive."
This is early work, but it could have implications for vision restoration in the future.
“Although other researchers have managed to create electrical activity in organ donor eyes before, it has never been done in the macula or to this extent.”
Dr. Vinberg said: “The scientific community can now study human vision more comprehensively than was possible with laboratory animals only."
“Until now, it was difficult to get the cells in all of the different layers of the central retina to talk to each other in the same way that they would in a live eye,” says Anne Hanneken, Scripps Research Associate.
The team is hopeful that their research will pave the way for developing new treatments for age-related macular degeneration, glaucoma, and other degenerative retinal diseases.
“This is an important first step,” Hanneken says. “We still have a long way to go before we can restore vision to patients with these diseases, but this study shows that it may one day be possible.”
“We'll be able to utilize this method in the future to develop therapies that may improve vision and light signaling in eyes with macular diseases, such as age-related macular degeneration.”
The team says their work paves the way for other researchers to use this system to better understand degenerative eye diseases and to find new treatments.
The study was published in the journal Nature Methods.
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About the Blogger:
April Carson is the daughter of Billy Carson. She received her bachelor's degree in Social Sciences from Jacksonville University, where she was also on the Women's Basketball team. She now has a successful clothing company that specializes in organic baby clothes and other items. Take a look at their most popular fall fashions on bossbabymav.com
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