Re: Human Hibernation ?
Tue, 16 Mar 1999 15:34:33 -0800

Joe Jenkins asks,
> Is it possible to induce a state of hibernation in humans that would
> substantially reduce metabolism by mimicking the chemistry of animal
> hibernation? What age related factors in humans would be improved by
> hibernation if it were possible?

A few weeks ago on an episode of Ally McBeal, a woman sued to be allowed to be kept asleep all the time. (She had good dreams.) In the end she won, and they gave her a shot to knock her out. I think they were going to wake her up every week or two to see how she was doing.

I don't know if this is really possible, but it seems likely that you could do this using various drugs. Your metabolism would slow considerably, but you'd still have to get up to eat and drink something every day or so, I'd think.

There was a hibernation drug in John Crowley's _Engine_Summer_. They'd get up every day to throw some more on the fire and eat a bit, and then the smoke would put them back to sleep. This is how they spent the winter.

> It would be even better if we could hibernate with our bodies while
> remaining fully cognitive with a direct brain interface to the net.

I understand that the brain represents a considerable fraction of our energy consumption (at least while we are at rest) so I don't think you could reduce the metabolism too much and still be conscious and alert.