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Saturday, February 19, 2011

Study on Bear Hibernation May Lead to Human Application

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Multisource political news, world news, and entertainment news analysis by Newsy.com

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BY STEPHANIE STOUFFER
ANCHOR ALEX HOLLEY


You're watching multisource science video news analysis from Newsy.

Ever heard a bear snore? It ain’t pretty. (Video from PBS)

And you thought your snoring was bad. Smokey the Bear has taught us about camping safety for years... but what can real bears teach us? The one thing bears do best -- how to hibernate.

After years of avoiding the dangers of waking a sleeping bear, scientists in Alaska have finally tracked a group of black bears through hibernation. They electronically monitored their body changes in a secluded, protected environment, taking measurements on body temperature and metabolism. (Video from Daily Motion)

Scientists have known for years that bears decrease their metabolism while hibernating, but it was assumed they also significantly drop their body temperature like other smaller mammals. As National Geographic explains - a new study from the University of Alaska says that isn’t so.

“A black bear in Alaska can lower its temperature...by only about 9 to 11 degrees Fahrenheit... yet bring its metabolism almost to a grinding halt, at 25 percent of the normal rate.”

Now many in the media are asking: what does this mean for humans? Well TIME Magazine says -- some medical miracles and even easier space travel.

“That might mean learning how to induce a healthy hibernation state in a gravely ill person who is awaiting a transplant … It could also have much later implications for long-distance space travel, during which the ability to sleep for months at a time could make the tedium of the journey a lot more tolerable.”

Co-author of the study Brian Barnes tells Scientific American
, the medical possibilities are endless if scientists can adapt the bear’s behavior to humans.

. Click Here to Read More.

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