The body bag was all zipped up on Mitsutaka Uchikoshi. He had been missing for weeks and was found lying cold in the snow with no life signs. On the way to the hospital to have his body identified, something amazing happened.
...He woke up.
Suspended animation may just be the next big medical breakthrough. Induced comatic states have been said to be the best way to increase a patent's chance of survival. Much like hibernation, a state of suspended bodily animation causes the body to nearly stop functioning aside from some minor metabolic processing and light breathing. The body is very much alive, but functioning at a slower pace than normal.
Thanks to Mitsutaka's unfortunate accident (more about it here
) scientists believe they are getting closer to engineering a instantaneous comatic inducing agent that can preserve the body after a number of critical medical situations including serious injuries and even strokes. Because Mitsutaka entered a state of hibernation, it seems he was able to survive exposure to cold temperatures for those long weeks.
For more information about Mitsutaka and suspended animation engineering, be sure to check out this month's issue of Discover magazine