Scientists Have Figured Out How To Partially ‘Revive’ Pig Brains Hours After Decapitation

by Kim Wong-Shing
Kim Wong-Shing is a staff writer at LittleThings. Her work spans beauty, wellness, pop culture, identity, food, and other topics. She is a contributing writer at NaturallyCurly, and her work has also appeared in HelloGiggles, Lifehacker, Wear Your Voice Magazine, and other outlets. She grew up in Philadelphia, attended Brown University, and is now based in New Orleans.

Scientists have figured out how to partially revive pig brains several hours after their deaths — as if life in 2019 weren’t already bizarre enough!

Researchers at Yale University spearheaded the experiment, known as BrainEx, according to Gizmodo. Their mission: To restore some cell functionality to pig brains after death.

The researchers used decapitated pig heads from a nearby slaughterhouse for the experiment. For four hours after death, the brains were hooked up to the BrainEx system, which pumped them full of synthetic blood and other compounds.

As a result, the brains regained partial functionality for six hours.

Sounds like a zombie apocalypse waiting to happen, right? But the researchers have been careful to point out that the pig brains weren’t brought back to life, per se — the brains weren’t conscious or aware. They only showed some cellular activity.

Still, though, this is a pretty amazing scientific accomplishment. It brings up a lot of questions around what “death” really means and when it should be declared.

And for neuroscientists, the ability to revive brains could change the entire field of study. Normally, neuroscientists study only clumps or slices of brain cells. They can’t study a whole brain while it’s still alive, so there are certain limitations to what scientists know about the brain. But the BrainEx system could change all of that.

And hopefully, no pig zombies will be part of the mix!

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