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Could Human Hibernation Benefit Some Patients?

The Los Angeles Times reports that scientists have revealed interesting patterns in the sleep cycles of lemurs that could benefit human health. Researchers studied the western fat-tailed dwarf lemur, the closest genetic cousin of humans to hibernate for long periods, and discovered that they are the only known primate to hibernate in warm climates. The data on “body temperature, metabolism and sleep is crucial to knowing what could happen to humans if researchers unlock the key – possibly a genetic one – to inducing hibernation in humans.” Researchers believe that by inducing a torpid state in humans, the demand for cellular oxygen would drop and would reduce the risk of damaging organs that are sensitive to hypoxia, therefore allowing safer surgery.

Read it in the Los Angeles Times.

Read the study in PLoS ONE.