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Silverhand
05-08-2008, 02:43 AM
Hello,

I swear there used to be a research forum for these types of questions...but for whatever reason, I can't find it. :(

Saying that, I have some scientific questions for our SF community...mainly dealing with the human brain, body, and orgrans once death has occurred.

#1 - How long can the human brain remain without oxygen before immeasureable brain damage occurs?

#2 - How long do our organs last before decomposition?

#3 - Assuming that you "could" resurrect someone with a drug, how many hours or days would a body have before irreperable harm has done?

#4 - Assuming that there would be brain damage...what would be the first parts of our awareness to be destroyed?

Uh, I should mention here that I am working on a book about zombies. In my tale, the POV character has died, been resurrected, and because of brain damage...has his "soul" and "consiousness" trapped inside a brain, that in essence, has been reset. Basically his can see out his eyes, speak to thoughts to himself, feel pain, and relive memories....but cannot move, speak, or let anyone know his mind is truly alive.

TheIT
05-08-2008, 03:02 AM
No clue, but the "Story Research" forum is under "The Conference Room". I've seen other medical related threads there which might help.

ChaosTitan
05-08-2008, 03:05 AM
Here ya go. :)

Sarpedon
05-08-2008, 03:13 AM
Short answer: It depends.

Long answers

#1. I once had a book (long lent to prospective girlfriend and never returned) called 'great medical disasters' in which a french doctor during the Revolution ran a series of experiments on newly severed heads. Grabbing one after it got chopped off, he observed 'the eyes opening and rolling about, the mouth opening as if trying to speak' and so forth for 'several seconds' before this activity stopped. In another case he arranged for a man about to be guillotined to blink three times when he heard his name shouted. According to the doctor, he blinked twice. So, if the head is severed, brain death appears to happen very quickly.

However...there have been cases of people who have been trapped underwater and under ice for hours at a time who have been revived with few ill effects, beyond frostbite.

So who knows? perhaps the cold induces a hibernation like state, where oxygen demand is reduced. While someone in an agitated state (as in they are getting their head cut off) seem to run through their oxygen quickly.

#2. Again, it depends on the conditions. You could experiment by buying innards at your local butcher, and leave them out. I bet in normal room temperature, they'd keep no more than a day before becoming foul. see below

#3. If you 'assume' that a drug could resurrect someone...I guess you would have to assume that the cells of the body are still intact, AND that one's mind is entirely 'hard coded' on the cells, rather than being like an active program. So what you are asking is how long would individual body cells remain viable. That I cannot answer. If you have access to a microscope, I suppose you could swab the insides of your cheeks, and observe how long the cells can survive independantly...but its hard to see a cell without dying it, which would affect the cell's longevity.

Remember, we are made up of organs, and the organs are made up of cells. Just because the liver you bought for sandwiches looks fresh, doesn't mean its cells are alive and viable.

#4. I dunno.

geardrops
05-08-2008, 03:19 AM
I AM NOT AN EXPERT


#1 - How long can the human brain remain without oxygen before immeasureable brain damage occurs?

Maybe you meant irreversible brain damage. Technically, all brain damage is irreversible. Maybe you meant immense. IIRC above two minutes you're getting into some dangerous territory. Over five minutes is almost assured loss of motor skills. After either ten or twenty minutes they'll declare you dead.


#2 - How long do our organs last before decomposition?

http://www.bbc.co.uk/health/ask_the_doctor/decompositionafterdeath.shtml


#3 - Assuming that you "could" resurrect someone with a drug, how many hours or days would a body have before irreperable harm has done?

Depends if you want them to have any form of brain functionality or not. See above for details.


#4 - Assuming that there would be brain damage...what would be the first parts of our awareness to be destroyed?

Depends on which cells die. I'm assuming they're probably random, but it seems like motor skills go before awareness. I could be wrong, though.

And remember: everybody poops when they die.

Drasheny
05-08-2008, 09:24 PM
Grabbing one after it got chopped off, he observed 'the eyes opening and rolling about, the mouth opening as if trying to speak' and so forth for 'several seconds' before this activity stopped. In another case he arranged for a man about to be guillotined to blink three times when he heard his name shouted. According to the doctor, he blinked twice.

Ewww! Thanks for the nightmares. :tongue

GeorgeK
05-09-2008, 12:25 AM
Hello,

I swear there used to be a research forum for these types of questions...but for whatever reason, I can't find it. :(

Saying that, I have some scientific questions for our SF community...mainly dealing with the human brain, body, and orgrans once death has occurred.

#1 - How long can the human brain remain without oxygen before immeasureable brain damage occurs?

#2 - How long do our organs last before decomposition?

#3 - Assuming that you "could" resurrect someone with a drug, how many hours or days would a body have before irreperable harm has done?

#4 - Assuming that there would be brain damage...what would be the first parts of our awareness to be destroyed?

Uh, I should mention here that I am working on a book about zombies. In my tale, the POV character has died, been resurrected, and because of brain damage...has his "soul" and "consiousness" trapped inside a brain, that in essence, has been reset. Basically his can see out his eyes, speak to thoughts to himself, feel pain, and relive memories....but cannot move, speak, or let anyone know his mind is truly alive.


1: 2-3 minutes

2: It's different for different organs. For brain, a couple minutes, for kidneys about 30 minutes. What you will want to google is "warm ischemic time"

3:Unless the drug had magical regenerative abilities, just a few minutes if you want to preserve anything remembling the original personality.

4:There is so little known about how our personality works that it would be conjecture moreso than knowledge. Not everyone is wired the exact same way. There are trends. The lobotomy era has given us some clues, as have stroke studies. It sounds like your zombie might have "global aphasia"

GeorgeK
05-09-2008, 12:26 AM
And remember: everybody poops when they die.


myth

Tish Davidson
05-09-2008, 01:48 AM
Recent research shows that people who are kept cold but not frozen when they stop breathing can survive a much longer time with less brain and organ damage than someone whose body is at room temperature. I the process is called controlled hypothermia and it is being explored as a way of treating people in cardiac arrest, but it also happens accidentally to people who drown in cold water or who are buried in avalanches.

here is a link, http://www.news.vcu.edu/vcu_view/pages.aspx?nid=1486

or you can find out more than you probably want to know by Googling controlled hypothermia

Mike Martyn
05-09-2008, 01:55 AM
[quote=Sarpedon;2332592]Short answer: It depends.

Long answers

#1. I once had a book (long lent to prospective girlfriend and never returned) called 'great medical disasters' in which a french doctor during the Revolution ran a series of experiments on newly severed heads. Grabbing one after it got chopped off, he observed 'the eyes opening and rolling about, the mouth opening as if trying to speak' and so forth for 'several seconds' before this activity stopped. In another case he arranged for a man about to be guillotined to blink three times when he heard his name shouted. According to the doctor, he blinked twice. So, if the head is severed, brain death appears to happen very quickly.

end quote

It gets even more gruesome. One of the French doctors supposedly attached a tube from a severed head's carotid artery to that of a dog. The head kept on its eye rolling and speech attempts for several minutes untill the dog bleed out.

One fervently hopes that the head was not trually conscious!

WriteKnight
05-09-2008, 03:01 AM
I've had a 'rule of three' given to me by a couple of Medical Doctor friends; A person can go (roughly) three minutes without oxygen, three days without water and three weeks without food. Yes, yes, individuals may vary by bodyweight and climate conditions (like the cold mentioned earlier)... but 'on average' those are the guidlines.

GeorgeK
05-10-2008, 06:03 AM
Recent research shows that people who are kept cold but not frozen when they stop breathing can survive a much longer time with less brain and organ damage than someone whose body is at room temperature. I the process is called controlled hypothermia and it is being explored as a way of treating people in cardiac arrest, but it also happens accidentally to people who drown in cold water or who are buried in avalanches.

here is a link, http://www.news.vcu.edu/vcu_view/pages.aspx?nid=1486

or you can find out more than you probably want to know by Googling controlled hypothermia

True, the cold water reflex which most mammals have would change the situation. I assumed "warm ischemic time" was what was desired, which may have been a faulty presumption.

scottVee
05-10-2008, 12:16 PM
If you want to do ANYthing with body parts, grab a copy of a book called "Stiff", by Mary Roach. Subtitle: "The curious lives of human cadavers."

And she brilliantly found a way to make it light and fascinating, while being horrifying, too.