Planet Earth

Researchers Induce Hibernation in Squirrels (But Only When the Time's Right)

80beatsBy Joseph CastroJul 28, 2011 1:20 PM

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Researchers at the University of Alaska, Fairbanks have discovered a way to induce hibernation in arctic ground squirrels

—by administering a substance that stimulates the brain receptors of adenosine

, a molecule involved in slowing nerve cell activity. Induced hibernation

could someday be used to preserve the brain functions of human stroke victims, though that's still a ways off as the current technique only works on the arctic ground squirrels

during hibernation season. [Read more at the Australian

and ScienceDaily

]

Image: Flickr/Threat to Democracy

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