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An emergency medicine expert said in New York on Thursday, at an American Medical Association press briefing on heart disease, that rapidly cooling people whose hearts have suddenly stopped, could provide a way to bring them back to life without organ damage.

Dr. Lance B. Becker, Director of the Emergency Resuscitation Center at the University of Chicago said that thousands of people die every day due to sudden cardiac arrest, which is a different condition unlike a heart attack, where the heart stops beating suddenly.

Many patients survive if they are resuscitated and if the heart starts beating in 3-4 minutes. The longer the time taken for the heart to restart its normal beating, the lesser the chances are for the patient to survive. In laboratory studies, Becker has demonstrated that the actual act of restarting the heart can cause significant damage.

Therefore, he proposes giving the heart a rest by cooling the organ along with the brain before restarting it, so that the heart's cells can direct their energies toward repairing themselves rather than being required to start pumping blood right away.

At the Argonne National Laboratory in Argonne, Illinois, Becker and his colleagues are developing a material that could be injected into the lungs of cardiac arrest victims to rapidly cool their hearts and brains. Types of this material, a liquid-solid mixture called "slurry," are already being used to cool buildings. They have eight times the cooling ability of water, according to Becker.

If things go according to the calculations of these doctors then a patient can be brought to the emergency room with sudden cardiac arrest and then his heart can be cooled and the heart can be treated slowly while a machine is used to circulate blood throughout the body. Once the heart is treated and is stable, then the cooling can be stopped and the heart can be restarted. Now isn’t this “Elementary my dear Watson”
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