Hibernation & Torpidation
I’m somewhat north of the cheering section when it comes to Ray Peat’s ideas about sleep and darkness.
On the plus side, he does seem to regard carbon dioxide as Nature’s evening substitute for light as an antidote for the stress of darkness.
According to Adano Ley (Swami Nitty-Gritty) …
“Accelerate the consciousness with respiration. A person in delta breathes through their bones.”
A hibernating bear recycles its bone calcium.
Rachel Nowak (“Bear bones hint at treatment for osteoporosis,” New Scientist, Nov. 29, 2003) wrote …
“Hibernating bears have a unique ability to stop their bones from degenerating during long periods of inactivity, a finding that is stimulating the search for new treatments for osteoporosis.”
Hibernating animals also have increased antibody and immune responses.
They resist infection, parasitism, cancer, and lethal levels of radiation.
They produce a bone-preserving substance that protects their bones from thinning during hibernation.
Wayne Lynch (Bears: Monarchs of the Northern Wilderness, 1993) wrote …
“Relating to HIT [Hibernation Induction Trigger] again, research on bears and other hibernators may change the course of two other maladies, cancer and viral infections such as the common cold. Time and again, hibernators injected with pathological viruses have not become ill. And deadly tumour cells inoculated into hibernators have consistently failed to grow. Perhaps if hibernation could be induced in humans, these ailments might reverse their course, or at least be more susceptible to drug therapy. Inducing hibernation in humans is not as farfetched as it sounds. Consider this final bit of research conducted by Dr. Peter Oeltgen, a pathologist at the University of Kentucky. Oeltgen and his colleagues injected HIT into a monkey, an animal that has never been known to hibernate. To the amazement of the researchers, the monkey fell asleep for six hours, its heart rate and body temperature dropped, and its appetite was depressed for over a week. This suggests that all mammals, possibly including humans, may be responsive to HIT.”
Mark B. Roth & Todd Nystul (“Buying Time in Suspended Animation: An ability to put the human body on hold could safeguard the critically injured or preserve donor organs for transport,” Scientific American, Jun. 2005) wrote …
“Recent studies in our laboratory at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle and by other researchers have shown that hibernationlike states can be induced on demand in animals that do not naturally hibernate. Moreover, such animals seem to be protected from the usual effects of blood loss, such as oxygen deprivation, while they are in a suspended state. These results raise the exciting possibility that suspended animation may be feasible in humans as well. Indeed, the methods our group used to induce suspended animation in lab animals and in human tissue suggest this capability could be latent in many organisms through a mechanism with roots in the earliest days of microbial life on earth.”
Gordon Grigg & Lyn Beard (“Hibernation by Echidnas in Mild Climates: Hints about the Evolution of Endothermy?,” Life in the Cold: Eleventh International Hibernation Symposium, 2000) wrote …
“Short-beaked echidnas undergo both torpor and hibernation, expressed to different extents in different climates. We propose that when well fed animals hibernate in comparatively mild climates, with food available, they are using the winter cold as a resource and ‘putting themselves on ice’ until the next breeding season. That is, echidnas are hibernating in mild climates for energy advantage, not from energy necessity. We interpret the use of hibernation by echidnas in the more severe climates, where there is a food shortage, as a specialisation of a more general, ancestral capacity. There are also avian, marsupial and eutherian species in which torpor in mild climates appears to be practised for energetic advantage rather than from necessity. The similarity of patterns of hibernation in echidnas, mountain pigmy possums and arctic ground squirrels emphasises the likelihood that torpor and hibernation are plesiomorphic across all three Sub-classes of Mammalia. Attention is drawn to parallels between the daily/seasonal cycles in the body temperatures of torpidators/hibernators and those seen commonly in reptiles, and to the extent to which thermoregulatory mechanisms in reptiles foreshadow those in mammals and birds.”
According to Adano Ley …
“One atom of oxygen could last you forty years. Live by intracellular osmosis.”