Consciousness lost, breathing stopped, pulse gone. Someone just slipped into cardiac arrest. In order to preserve the precious memories and thoughts at risk right now, we're gonna have to squirt some perfluorocarbon coolant up a nose and chill a brain.
It certainly sounds odd, but by using a device called RhinoChill to spray coolant up a patient's nose after cardiac arrest, emergency medical personnel can "safely induce hypothermia to slow brain cells' metabolism, preventing the buildup of toxic molecules that can cause lasting damage."
The system hasn't been approved by the FDA just yet, but initial tests are at least optimistic:
A study of 200 patients showed that those who received RhinoChill were 15 percent likelier to live, and those survivors were 15 percent likelier to avoid brain damage.
Let's hope that future results are just as positive and that RhinoChill sails through the FDA approval process. At least then there'll be a good kind of brain freeze. [Pop Sci and American Heart Association]
Memory [Forever] is our week-long consideration of what it really means when our memories, encoded in bits, flow in a million directions, and might truly live forever.