Show Details

Smelly Lifesaver

July 31, 2008

Hydrogen sulfide could buy wounded soldiers time.


Life-saving hydrogen sulfide…I’m Bob Hirshon and this is Science Update.

Hydrogen sulfide is responsible for the stench of rotten eggs. But it could soon be used to buy wounded soldiers precious time. According to Mark Roth of the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle, too much blood loss often leads to rapid death. That’s because when the body loses blood, it can no longer get oxygen to tissues. But he says hydrogen sulfide decreases the body’s need for oxygen, slowing down the metabolism.

MARK ROTH (Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center):
By slowing that rate, we can increase the length of time that is available for caregivers to help the patient.

His says rats that were administered hydrogen sulfide after losing over 60% of their blood had excellent survival rates compared to controls. He and his colleagues hope to develop a product that wounded soldiers can give themselves while awaiting treatment. I’m Bob Hirshon, for AAAS, the science society.