It’s a strange and unsettling story.
Scientists have found that a group of about two dozen people who have been clinically dead for more than two years have retained consciousness after being put in a coma for three weeks.
Their brains have been frozen for weeks, and now, thanks to a pioneering technique, they can be revived and put back to work.
The patients were among nearly 700 people who were brought into the state university hospital in Delaware state, in the US state of Delaware, to receive a brain transplant.
But their brains were frozen for months.
Then a breakthrough came in January 2018, when researchers at the University of Maryland discovered that the brains of the people were not only still alive but had begun to grow new neurons.
What’s happening in the brains The research has been carried out in the lab of Dr Daniel Peltz, who was appointed as director of the university’s neuroscience centre in November.
Dr Pelts team has used a technique known as cryopreservation to transfer the brain cells of these patients into an ice-crystal structure, and then placed them in a laboratory, where they are slowly frozen.
After two weeks, they have returned to normal, although some of them have a slightly lower IQ and other areas of their brains are not functioning properly.
While some of the patients are able to walk and talk, others are still completely paralyzed.
They are only able to move their arms and legs and some have difficulty using their left or right hands or face.
They are being monitored closely for signs of brain damage, and Dr Peltss team has now started an intensive trial to see if they can develop new treatments to help them regain some of their mobility and use of their limbs.
“We’ve seen improvement,” Dr Pothss said.
A few months ago, the team began testing the effects of the treatment on two patients who had been placed in a different coma and were now recovering.
During their time in the coma, the patients had lost consciousness and started to lose their sense of taste and smell, so Dr Pathss and his team had to be careful to make sure the patients did not develop any symptoms of dementia or even other neurological conditions.
It was not immediately clear if the new technique would be effective in treating patients who are otherwise healthy.
Other researchers have also been working on similar techniques, and the work could help develop a treatment for the brain-eating disease CTE.
Cathy Ehrlich, a neuroscientist at the Johns Hopkins University, told the New York Times that the researchers had found that the technique could “enable a number of potential treatments”.
“It might be the next step,” she said.
“There are a lot of questions to be answered.”
How it happened In a few months, a team of researchers from the University at Buffalo, the University College London, the Institute of Neuroscience in Finland and the University Medical Center in Dresden, Germany, led by Dr Jari Sollila, found that their approach worked in the laboratory.
Using a new technique called cryoprecipitation, the researchers were able to freeze a group’s brain cells and then remove them from the body.
These frozen cells were then removed from a patient’s skull using a technique called suction.
This technique, which Dr Sollils team used to remove the brain from the deceased patient, is still being tested.
When Dr Sollaila returned to the hospital, they used a machine to remove a large chunk of brain tissue, then attached the rest of the frozen brain to a mesh and connected it to a microchip.
As the patient’s brain cooled, the brain’s white matter was extracted and the cells were transplanted into a new section of the brain.
Now that the patient is back in his or her native state, the scientists are trying to determine whether the transplanted cells can be used to regenerate the patient.
With their study, Dr Solicil said, he had also been able to determine what happened to the other patients.
“It’s pretty clear we got them back to normal,” he said.