Friday, April 2, 2010

Fantastic Future Friday: Easter Edition


Easter is a time to celebrate the original Zombie Holocaust, idea that someone could die and be revived as the living dead three days later. But can it happen in real life?

The answer turns out to be yes. Between Embryonic Stem Cell research, cell cloning, and nano-technology medical researchers are finding new ways to replace dead cells and organs with new ones that are made the persons own cells and therefore don’t need to have intensive anti-rejection drug therapy.

But what about the brain? What good is having a perfect body and nothing upstairs, so to speak? Outside of being a Republican spokeswoman.

Alzheimer’s researchers have found out that like most things in science the death of brain cells is far more interesting than we originally thought. It turns out brain cells don’t just go from being live cells to dead cells, when they first “die” they merely turn themselves off and go dormant. When they go dormant they stop receiving “nerve growth factor” or NGF and act dead. When given NGF these “dead” brain cells come back to life. Using nano-technology it should be possible to administer NGF directly into the dead brain cells and revive them.

With the ability to replace organs throughout the body and revive the brain it should soon be possible to revive a person who has been dead for awhile, under the right circumstances. So the classic horror tale that we celebrate at this time of year of someone dieing and coming back to life three days later could become a reality.

As we push back against finality of death, it will lead to a fantastic future.

3 comments:

Stephanie Barr said...

I'm more excited by the notion that nerve/brain damage can be recovered from.

It's actually pivotal to one of my own stories.

Project Savior said...

I only found out about the whole thing when researching something to keep this blog topical I figured Easter/Zombies was the perfect match. But the research was damn interesting, I'll have to explore this either here or in a story.

Stephanie Barr said...

One of the experiments I worked with when I worked for Life Sciences involved growing 3-D cells in zero-g. It's hard to grow three dimensional cell constructs on the ground (like an organ) because gravity makes them tend to grow flat.