Sunday, December 6, 2009

Breathable Liquid- Who Knew?

I just finished reading the Lost Symbol by Dan Brown. The book was interesting. It brought up several topics of debate: faith, religion, America's early history, scientific advancements, technology and family to say the least. However, it ended a little flat.

There is one concep
t which I found to be absolutely fascinating- Breathable Liquid. I did some research and this form of respiration has been in existence since the late 1960's. Mice were used initially in these experiments and were made to breathe in an oxygen rich saline solution. The mice would live for several weeks after exposure but then developed pulmonary complications. The saline solution did not aid in the extraction of carbon dioxide from the lungs, thus resulting in severe lung damage.

Thank goodness that by the time The Abyss was filmed in 1989, scientists had found perfluorocarbons. It helped to avoid nitrogen build up (or "The Bends") when deep sea diving. Although, these perfluorocarbons are harmful to the ozone layer, they effectively dissolve both oxygen and carbon dioxide. Today, this amazing fluid is being used in addition to respirators to help with acute respiratory problems and may one day replace blood transfusion. Cool huh?