Scientists discover that eyes from organ donors could be brought back to life

According to scientists who discovered that eyes from organ donors might be ‘brought back to life,’ death may be reversible.

Up to five hours after death, photosensitive cells in the retina were able to respond to light and communicate with one another. Thus, generating signals ‘resembling those recorded from living subjects’.

These retinal neurons are part of the central nervous system (CNS), which includes the brain and spinal cord. Therefore, it’s possible that other CNS cells could restore as well.

This breakthrough has the potential to restore human consciousness.

The researchers achieved their goals by developing a specific transportation system. It could restore oxygen and other nutrients to the eyes as soon as they withdrew from a donor.

Is death truly irreversible?

The discovery ‘raises the question of whether brain death, as it is currently defined, is truly irreversible,’ investigators say. They published their findings in the journal Nature.

Dr. Fatima Abbas is the lead author from the University of Utah. Abbas said: ‘We were able to wake up photoreceptor cells in the human macula, which is the part of the retina responsible for our central vision and our ability to see fine detail and color.

‘In eyes obtained up to five hours after an organ donor’s death, these cells responded to bright light, colored lights, and even very dim flashes of light.

The latest study goes one step farther than a Yale University study published in 2019. It reactivated the brains of 32 decapitated pigs killed four hours before.

Dr. Frans Vinberg of the University of Utah remarked, ‘We were able to make the retinal cells talk to each other, the way they do in the living eye.’

‘This has never been achieved in the macula, and never to the extent we have now demonstrated,’’ he continued.

The researchers also hope that the breakthrough would help them develop new treatments for sight loss and gain a better understanding of brain illnesses.



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