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Medical Hypothermia: You Should Put Some Ice on That

Photo of small cooler and ice packs by Antonín Ryska.
Not exactly what I meant. Photo by Antonín Ryska.

Medical research over the past 70 years has shown how the careful chilling of patients can aid resuscitation, save lives and protect neurological function. Most recently, doctors have begun exploring how therapeutic hypothermia can improve patient outcomes in cases ranging from stroke to heart attacks, respiratory problems and injuries to the brain and spinal cord.

By staving off the destructive chain of events that begins when blood and oxygen stop flowing, this treatment also pushes back the customary timeline of brain death. As new, more radical procedures promise to push it back further still, we have to wonder …

How Therapeutic Hypothermia Works