ROTTEN EGG GAS MAY SAVE YOUR LIFE
H2S, hydrogen sulfide, known as rotten egg gas, smells bad, is flammable and can be deadly. It is found on farms and sewage treatment plants. Science now feels it may be helpful to injured people and save lives.
Injecting low doses of the gas into healthy people caused no dangerous side effect. The hydrogen sulfide starves the cells by blocking an enzyme that affects blood flow and hormonal secretion.
It is hoped to curb heart attack damage and side effects of painkillers. Soon it may be used as a treatment for restricted blood flow to liver and lung injuries.
Can the gas help people survive better after severe injures or traumas as strokes? The gas also has dangers. Breathe 3 50 ppm and die in 30 minutes, 1000 ppm and it will kill you instantly.
The human body makes this potentially lethal molecule at much lower concentrations. A few living microbes actually rely on sulfur not oxygen to get energy from metabolism.
Twenty years ago, the molecule was found to be present in high concentrations in brain samples of humans. It acts as a neuromodulator helping neural circuits. It opens membrane channels letting potassium leave the cells. Smooth muscle cells are also relaxed in the wall of blood vessels.
Cultured neurons are shielded from oxidative damage as in strokes. It stimulates cells to raise their levels of glutathione, a natural antioxidant. It seems to limit the damage of a heart attack by protecting the mitochondria that generates cell energy.
Another gas being in use for a long time is nitric oxide. It has similar actions. It relaxes blood vessels, stops inflammation and stimulates the hypothalamus to release hormones, and transmits signals between brain neurons.
The gas seems to protect the gut also by shielding intestinal linings. This may be of use to stop gastrointestinal bleeding and ulcers cause by anti-inflammatory non-steroids as aspirin and Motrin.
The gas is a master metabolic regulator by turning down metabolism and oxygen demands. Animals can survive with 2/3 of it blood loss.
Rather than resuscitate patients, it may be better to put the patient in a near death state by falling into an altered state of consciousness, and yet have the patient be able to move and respond to pain.
A Company, Ikaria is now testing injectable hydrogen sulfide in humans. Sulfide releasing pills are being tested with a projection to be brought to market by the end of 2009.
There is noting rotten about the medical promises of hydrogen sulfide.
Source: science, 5.30.08
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