Sunday, July 1, 2012

Science Saturday 2.11: Leap Second, Oxygen Injections, & Birth via MRI

Tonight just before midnight, we will experience a rare event called a leap second - just before midnight, the time will be 23:59:60 UTC (coordinated universal time).  This occurs because time is measured two ways: the rotation of the Earth and an atomic clock based on the vibration of atoms.  Every once in a while, these two time measurements get out of sync.  So by adding one second to the atomic clock, it holds time back so that it becomes coordinated with the physical rotation of the Earth.

Researchers are able to keep rabbits alive by bypassing damaged lungs and injecting oxygenated microparticles directly into the bloodstream where the oxygen is taken up by the red blood cells.  Rabbits with damaged windpipes were able to survive "for up to 15 minutes without breathing, and had normal blood pressure and heart rate."  This has the potential to prevent cardiac arrest and brain damage caused by low oxygen levels.

A live birth was captured by MRI at a hospital in Germany.  Coined "cinematic MRI," the video lets doctors visualize the internal process of labor and delivery and can help future management of care for these particular practices.

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