3 Stay Alive Without Breathing
Every human has the same huge weakness: If you cut off our air, we die. Disaster is as close as the next piece of triple cheeseburger that goes down the wrong neck hole or Neeson-chop to the throat. It's not like you can take in air any way other than via your lungs -- those frail, spongy bastards pretty much have the market on air intake cornered, you know? Well, a team of researchers at Boston Children's Hospital has found a way to bypass your lazy lungs when they can't be bothered to do their one and only job. They figured that lungs are just the middlemen to get oxygen from the air to the blood, so why not cut them out of the loop and inject oxygen directly into your bloodstream?
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"Bullshit!" -The fat cats at "Big Lung"
Now, injecting air directly into the blood is a little tricky. Normally, some nasty side effects can occur if you just straight up shoot air into your veins, like, um ... an agonizing death. So what these guys did was design tiny microparticles that they could fill with oxygen. Then they surrounded those microparticles with lipids (fats) and put them in a liquid solution to help them blend in with the blood. Finally, to test whether or not their Frankenoxygen worked, the docs injected the solution filled with their tiny lifesavers into animals with low blood oxygen levels.
"Jenkins, get in here! It's your turn to strangle Hopper."
When the animals' tracheas were completely blocked, which would normally earn a human a not-so-fashionable throat piercing, the injection of microparticles was able to restore their blood oxygen to completely normal levels in mere seconds. The breathing fix wasn't permanent, as the animals needed to start breathing the old-fashioned way (i.e., not from a hypodermic needle) after 15 minutes. However, for 15 whole minutes, the animals stayed alive without taking a single breath and had a reduced incidence of complications such as heart attacks or other organ injury.
The best part is that, since the solution can be administered via syringe, it's completely portable. This means it can be carried by paramedics and administered within moments of arriving at the scene of the autoerotic asphyxiation gone wrong.
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It's a bold new day for the sciences of medicine and masturbation.
2 Instantly End an Addiction
OK, so chances are you're not reading Cracked with your smartphone in one hand while using your teeth to tighten a belt around your "shootin'-up arm," but even so, it's probably not news to you that heroin is one of the most addictive substances in the world. But really, it's all our stupid bodies' fault: Chemicals inside us bond to drugs such as heroin, then release happy juice into our systems, to the point that our bodies crash once the drugs are gone and we end up needing more and more of the stuff. If you're one of the unlucky few whose body happens to bond well with illicit arm candy, there's not a damn thing you can do about it ... except for take a pill to block your addiction, if science has its say.
"Pills? I don't know, I'm kind of picky about what I put into my body."
That's right: A bicontinental team of researchers comprised of Aussies at the University of Adelaide and Yanks at the University of Colorado have managed to rewire the brain and successfully unaddict it to heroin (and morphine, for good measure). How did this team of geniuses accomplish what thousands of hours of interventions, rehab stays, and stern talks from jaded guidance counselors never could? Brain hacking.
Which does not involve an ax, as we learned through some tragic accidents.
The researchers noticed that heroin bonded to an immune receptor named Toll-Like Receptor 4 (TLR4), which acts as "an amplifier for addiction." So they developed a drug called (+)-naloxone (presumably named by an accounting computer that moonlights in pharmaceuticals), which once and for all shuts down that TLR4 asshole, thereby changing the chemistry in the brain and disrupting its addictive tendencies.
You'd think that all this tampering about with your noggin juices could lead to some serious complications, like believing that your wife is a toaster or that The Learning Channel is educational, but the new drug appears to target only TLR4, while leaving all the law-abiding neural receptors intact. As explained by one of the lead scientists, "Our studies have shown conclusively that we can block addiction via the immune system of the brain, without targeting the brain's wiring." And as if that weren't enough, this new drug is also a great pain reliever. What do you want to bet it will turn out to be addictive?
His new boat is counting on it.