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However, no one actually dies until the brain dies. The brain dies when blood stops being pumped to it. Other organs such as the heart and kidneys can stop working completely and in some circumstances are able to be revived - but not the brain....When any part of the body is injured it swells. The brain is no different. An injured finger or ankle can keep expanding because there is nothing to restrict it. The brain however, is contained within the rigid skull that limits how much it can expand. As the brain continues to swell, pressure builds up within the skull.
Recent landmark studies in Australia and Europe, however, show that inducing mild hypothermia—to a target range of 89.6? - 93.2? F (32? - 34? C) for 12 - 24 hours—can prevent brain damage and often save lives....When a patient is resuscitated, reperfusion sets off a series of chemical reactions that can continue for up to 24 hours, possibly causing significant inflammation in the brain. Inducing mild hypothermia decreases intracranial pressure, the cerebral metabolic rate, and the brain's demand for oxygen consumption. In addition, it is thought to suppress many of the chemical reactions associated with reperfusion injury, including free radical production, excitatory amino acid release, and calcium shifts, which can in turn lead to mitochondrial damage and apoptosis.4,7 The end result: Patients have a better chance of recovering with their neurological function intact.
Becker, in contrast, discovered something really nuts: That when you deprive cells of oxygen for more than five minutes, they die not because of an immediate lack of oxygen. They die when the oxygen supply is resumed.