What hibernation teaches us about treating Alzheimer's disease
When a bear beds down for the winter, his brain is going into a kind of sleep, too. As the body cools, some brain synapses (the connection between brain cells) are cut off, putting the animal into a state of torpor, or deep sleep. But in the spring, when the bear's body warms and he prepares to wake up, those synapses are restored without loss of memory. Human brains have a similar protective mechanism triggered by rapid cooling. Think of those stories about people whose hearts have stopped as a result of hypothermia but are revived without experiencing significant brain damage.
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