Can OrganEx help Redefine Death and Consciousness? 

Guest Post by David Stephen
Researchers at Yale University, this year, restored organ functions in pigs hours after death, opening possibilities for the future of medicine. The breakthrough, using their innovative OrganEx, also restored cellular activities to some areas of the brain.
OrganEx consists of an “infusion device and a synthetic solution’. In a news release by the NIH, “it was tested in pigs undergoing cardiac arrest, beginning one hour after cardiac arrest and continued for another six hours. OrganEx was able to circulate the fluid throughout the body and deliver adequate oxygen to tissues. It also prevented electrolyte imbalances that normally occur when blood flow stops. The researchers compared OrganEx with a conventional heart-lung perfusion machine that pumped the pig’s own blood back through its body.”

Can OrganEx help Redefine Death and Consciousness?

“OrganEx perfusion for six hours preserved cell and tissue integrity and reduced cell death in various organs. These included the brain, heart, liver, and kidneys. In the brain, OrganEx preserved all three major cell types: neurons, astrocytes, and microglia. Cells in the heart, liver, and kidneys had less damage than corresponding cells after treatment with the standard device.   The researchers also found signs of restored organ function in the perfused pigs. They observed glucose uptake in brain, heart, and kidneys. They found electrical activity and contraction in the heart, and protein synthesis in the liver and brain. Several organs activated genes associated with cellular repair processes and preventing cell death.”
The Brain

Pioneering studies into the end of life as well as into aging has accelerated in the last few years. The studies are important, in part, because of diseases whose probabilities grow with age. Some of these diseases are based in the brain—the key organ of existence.

The brain has functions that include control or regulation, interpretation and so on, for internal processes and for external experiences. The brain is important in cardiopulmonary resuscitation and for cardiac defibrillation, since all sensory signals must get to the brain for processing, and in those cases, the rearrangement within the brain, for some, makes them come back.

There are explorations of the states of consciousness, including in coma, under general anesthesia, during sleep and others, that processes go on in the brain, to certain extent, without external inputs.

Support facilities like ECMO can keep vital organs functional, when coordination with the brain dips. The key question though is what does it mean to be alive? Is life defined by working organs, cellular activity or obtainable consciousness?

There are people with conditions where certain functions are lost, like the hands and legs or some organ in the body, but with the brain, okay, can carry on with some aid.

This shows a fusing of the brain and the body. The brain is where the control or regulation happens, but the body is where the parts are. Control can also be explained to be updates not driving. This means that the brain gives limits and extents of how parts of the body should function. Signals to the brain, then back is to ensure that it is correct, but not directly like the brain is driving the organ to work, per se.

When something goes wrong, the organ may not know, but it is the update that is sent to the brain that lets the brain know that this is beyond a limit, and there might be a problem.

If there is something the brain can do, like to coordinate for blood clots in a wound, or for secretion of some molecules or something else, then it does. In some cases that the brain cannot, the person may pass out, or if worse then something else, or there may be need for some physical action.

Organs can always function without the control of the brain—using the last possible update of how they worked. This means that say there is a particular rate of a kidney process, regular—as given by the brain, if the brain’s control is disconnected, the kidney is still able to function at that rate—say with OrganEx.

In general, for internal senses from internal organs or interoception, there is a control or regulation processing that goes on, like during sleep, where brain activities are shown to be abundant. There are other states of consciousness that this coordination decreases, before death is finalized.

Sensory Processing

In the brain, there are landing ports for sensory processing, external senses [or exteroception] then internal senses [or internal processes]. The thalamus, composed of two egg-shaped structures, deep within the brain is identified to be a major center for processing of most senses. There are other centers like the olfactory bulb [for smell], the nucleus of the solitary tract, the reticular formation, the substantia nigra and others.

What it means is that for anything to be processed by the brain, it has to get to those landing ports first, to be integrated or prepared, before relaying to other parts of the brain [mostly the cerebral cortex] for interpretation.

What happens in this integration of sensory signals is important to consciousness as well as to life. In cardiopulmonary resuscitation and cardiac defibrillation, the inputs are integrated, then relayed to other parts of the brain, for reset and output that could make the person come back. This says that integrated quantities can go to destinations that drive activity response, so that what seems to be closing out, in another location, within the brain, is halted.

What defines life and consciousness, conceptually, are integrated quantities at destinations in the brain, where they obtain properties. During sleep, the quantities, for internal processes, go elsewhere from regular spots of wakefulness, to obtain properties. This applies to coma and general anesthesia as well.

Quantities are built by cells and molecules—becoming the version of senses or signals within the brain. There are properties in locations built from quantities. Some properties are inherited. All memory, emotion, feeling and reaction are properties. Control or regulation are also properties. There are also properties, conceptually, for activity or attenuation. Aspects of mortality and morbidity are properties in the brain. There is a principal spot for properties, where one can go to have the most influence.

It is theorized that a reason physical and cognitive activities are helpful against aging and diseases is so that integrated quantities go to key active areas, staying away from property locations that could result in bounces that may drive to locations that may indicate a slow, or stop.

Theoretical neuroscience can construct what it means to be alive—using quantities and properties, against aging, diseases and certain deaths.

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