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A woman scientist at the Louisiana State university medical school believes ground squirrels would be ideal animals to send on a trip into outer space. "They are so adaptable tc sharp changes in temperature, need practically no food, water or oxygen," explained Dr. Marilyn Zimny. Dr. Zimny said the ground squirrels can hibernate months on end in temperatures ranging between 33 and 35 degrees Fahrenheit. During this time, she added, they eat no food, drink no water, require little oxygen. 'NO APPARENT DAMAGE' "Yet when they are removed from this artificial hibernation there is no apparent damage to their brains, their hearts, their kidneys," added the scientist, who is associate professor of anatomy at the medical school. Dr. Zimney said, "if the ground squirrels can adjust to such changes here without harm they should be able to adjust to space." The fact that they need little | or no water, food or oxygen, she added, should be a definite advantage. "This means there would be more room for the payload—more room for scientific equipment/' said the anatomist. During the trip through space, Dr. Zimny explained, the squirrels could be kept in artificial hibernation. Which, she pointed out, would mean their bodily processes would continue to function, even though they would be reduced to slow motion. ELECTRIC WIF^S "Electric wires could be hooked up to their bodies to record blood pressu r e, respiration, pulse," said the scientist. "All of this information could then be radioed back to earth." Dr. Zimny emphasized the fact that she is not a space expert. But, she added, experiments she has been carrying on with ground squirrels during the past 10 years lead her to believe "they could survive a I trip through space." The anatomist has been usine the little animals as part of research project which may lead ultimately to greater human survival. In carrying on her experiments, Dr. Zimny has been placing the ground squirrels in a refrigerated room on the eighth floor of the LSU Medical school. Here, for varying periods of time, the squirrels go into an uninterrupted state of artificial hibernation. During this period, they are exposed to temperatures as low as 33 degrees Fahrenheit. They can withstand much lower temperatures, she said. "In this way we can determine what goes on in their bodies under reduced temperatures," the attractive scientist explained. PARTS ANALYZED Dr. Zimny said at the end of the hibernation period, the squirrels are taken out of refrigeration apparently none the worse for wear. Then their livers, hearts, brains, kidneys and muscles are removed and analyzed. "As far as we can determine there is apparently no damage to their hearts, brains or kidneys despite exposure to extreme cold," said the scientist. The anatomist said the next will be to find out what happens to a cardiac patient when he undergoes heart surgery under conditions of decreased bodily temper aferre. "It's important to know just how much such a patient's temperature can be lowered without serious heart damage," she added. 1 : DRUG SOUGHT Dr. Zimny said scientists are also anxious to discover a drug which would restore the patient's recuperative powers should trouble be encountered during the body-lowering process. Should such a drug he discovered, she added, it would prove a real boon to servicemen isolated in extremely cold climates. "The answer would be a compound or compounds which would slow down the metabolism of soldiers or fliers thus cutting down on the rate at which their bodies consume energy." Dr. Zimny said the same drug might also prove useful to space travelers. The anatomist catches her own squirrels for her own experiments. And she needs a plentiful supply. Right now she has 160. But she wants 60 more. Tree squirrels you can see scooting around in New Orleans just won't do. PHOTO: GROUND SQUIRRELS would be ideal space travelers, according to Dr. Marilyn Zinny, Louisiana State university medical school scientist. She holds Alice, a pet ground squirrel, which she used in her investigation.
|Title||Ground squirrel called ideal space traveler: Woman Scientist Tells of Adaptability of Animal|
|Contact Information||John P Isché Library - LSU Health Sciences Center New Orleans - 433 Bolivar St. New Orleans, LA 70112 ~ Send inquiries to firstname.lastname@example.org|
Zimny, Marilyn, Dr.
|Call Number||1960 p93-94|
|Identifier||See 'reference url' on the navigational bars.|
|Source||John P Isché Library - LSU Health Sciences Center New Orleans ~ www.lsuhsc.edu/no/library|
New Orleans (La.)
|Rights||Use is restricted to IP address of LSUHSC - New Orleans|