2021 CAN Awards

PROJECT: Translating hibernation for space torpor and remote emergency medicine

Science PI: Kelly Drew, Professor, UAF

Our goal is to contribute to the NASA Human Research Program objective to mitigate health risks of near-earth and deep space exploration The proposed work builds on the idea that controlled use of synthetic torpor modeled after true hibernation is a gamechanging technology for human spaceflight2,3. Specifically, lowering metabolic rate and body temperature will reduce risk of interpersonal conflict, depression and boredom, and stimulate regrowth of muscle and brain Moreover, in the event of acute and severe hypobaric hypoxia, stroke or cardiac arrest, synthetic torpor may prolong survival and buy time needed for emergency transport In addition, lowering body temperature decreases intracranial pressure4 This suggests that synthetic torpor may alleviate risk of spaceflight associated neuro-ocular syndrome. Lowering body temperature may also stimulate anabolic processes to protect against muscle loss and cognitive dysfunction.

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