By Brian Resnick
Around 15 minutes after a mammal’s brain is cut off from oxygen, the organ is supposed to die.
Without life-giving oxygen, the cells of the brain quickly starve. Some of the cells burst open, while the chemistry of others becomes so imbalanced that their membranes break down. This frenzied spiral ends one way: in death.
It’s thought that this process is widespread across brain anatomy and irreversible. After brain cells die, they are thought to be impossible to revive.
But a stunning new finding published Wednesday in the journal Nature turns that conventional wisdom around.
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