Researchers in the USA UU They say they have managed to keep the brains of decapitated pigs alive outside the body for up to 36 hours by circulating a fluid rich in oxygen through the organs.
While scientists, led by Yale University neuroscientist Nenad Sestan, say that brains are not aware, they say the feat could help researchers test how the brain works, and help studies in experimental treatments to diseases that range from cancer to dementia.
The disclosure, disclosed in the MIT Technology Review and based on Sestan's comments made at a meeting at the US National Institutes of Health. UU in March, it has received a mixed reaction in the scientific community.
Anna Devor, a neuroscientist at the University of California, San Diego, told MIT Technology Review that the feat could help researchers investigate connections between brain cells, allowing them to build a "brain atlas."
However, others quickly emphasized that the development did not mean that humans could expect to cheat death in the short term, noting that it is not possible to transplant a brain to a new body.
"That animal brain is not aware of anything, I'm very sure of that," Sestan is reported to have told the NIH meeting. But he noted that ethical considerations abound: "Hypothetically, someone takes this technology, improves it and restores someone's activity [brain]that's restoring a human being, if that person has a memory, it would completely drive me crazy."
The team says they have used more than 100 pigs, whose brains were recovered from the slaughterhouses. Then, the researchers used a sophisticated system called BrainEx to keep the cells alive, circulating an oxygenated fluid through the organ.
It is not the first time that the brain of an animal is kept alive outside the body: the feat was previously achieved in guinea pigs.