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Hibernate to heal

Author: admin

It is well known that hibernation enables animals to manipulate their metabolic rates, control blood flow levels, and put on and lose a large amount of weight safely. While bears drop their body temperature by 2°C to 6°C for six to nine months during hibernation, smaller animals such as hamsters enter into a daily hibernation-like state called torpor, allowing them to function in low oxygen settings and protect tissues against damage and deterioration. Now, scientists are taking cues from the animal kingdom to replicate this state in humans to help protect the body from trauma, heart attack, stroke and other medical conditions. Researchers at Fauna Bio, a US-based biopharmaceutical start-up, are mapping and investigating the RNA and DNA of hibernators. They are also connecting key genes that are in charge of energy metabolism, circadian rhythm and insulin management into a network, which can be triggered pharmacologically. Researchers hope recreating a hibernation-like state in patients will arrest muscle deterioration, prevent blood clots and help patients with cardiac conditions and diabetes resist damage from attacks or metabolic events.

Photo: iStock
March 2019