Scientists in Japan have discovered that pigs are able to intake oxygen through their butthole and believe this will lead to new medical innovations.
The anatomical hole comically known for blowing air out is apparently capable of taking oxygen in. Doctors at Tokyo Medical and Dental University have found that some animals are able to absorb oxygen through their gut via their butt. Initially, they started by experimenting on mice. They found mice that received oxygen through their keister lived longer than normal in an oxygen-deprived environment.
Dr. Takanori Takabe, an author of the study and practicing physician at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center was surprised by their findings.
“I’m always very skeptical about the results, but it turns out every time we do the tests, we can get reproducible datasets. It's so impressive because we never thought of breathing from the gut, but it’s possible.”
The Scientist drew inspiration from the loach, a type of fish that is able to breathe through its intestines. With all of the strain the Covid pandemic placed on respiratory systems worldwide, the team wanted to delve into researching unconventional methods of receiving oxygen.
After finding success with mice, the scientists moved on to testing in pigs which are far more similar in physiology to humans. Their tests on pigs also yielded promising results.
Takabe wants to expand into human clinical trials as early as this year and believes portable liquid oxygen canisters may one day be an accessible emergency medical device akin to defibrillators, as a tool for sudden respiratory failure.
If they can achieve successful results using healthy volunteers Takabe wants to eventually test on those with respiratory illnesses.
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