You know how things line up every once in a while so that your schedule is completely, insanely crammed so full that no matter how bad you want to, you just ain’t goin’ fishing?

Well, around this part of the ‘hood, last week was one of those weeks.

Toss in Spring Break and Easter Sunday and there was just no way we were realistically getting near any of our usual SoCal fly fishin’ venues.

THEN today, just about the time we were finishing up a late lunch/early dinner after a very long but very pleasant morning at church, and half-heartedly contemplating sneaking off to a local pond, we were literally jolted out of the idea by an earthquake – yeah, we felt the shock waves of the magnitude 7.2 Mexacali quake.

So, long story short, we didn’t get to do any fishing this past week.

However, in honor of Easter, please enjoy this 2001 story from the BBC about fish (small ones, but fish nonetheless) that we literally brought back from near death.

Hope you all had a happy Easter.


Fish in ‘suspended animation’

Thursday, 14 June, 2001, 17:36 GMT 18:36 UK

By BBC News Online science editor Dr David Whitehouse

Scientists have induced a state of so-called suspended animation in zebrafish embryos by starving them of oxygen. They say the technique could one day be used in medical treatment.

During the experiment all observable metabolic activity, including heartbeat, ceased in the zebrafish embryos. Afterwards, they returned to normal with no harmful effects on their health or growth.

This discovery promises to open novel paths of research into suspended animation. It could also lead to new ways to treat cancer and prevent injury caused by insufficient blood supply to organs and tissues.

In addition, the studies may shed light on a problem that perplexes cancer biologists: how oxygen deprivation affects the growth of tumours.

‘Normal offspring’

The researchers compared the growth of zebrafish embryos that had been exposed to normal atmospheric conditions with those grown in oxygen-free chambers.

The absence of oxygen caused all observable metabolic activity in the embryos to stop – including a shutdown of the heart, which normally beats 100 times per minute.

The researchers found that 25-hour-old embryos could survive without oxygen for 24 hours and still resume normal development when given oxygen again.

“We can’t detect any abnormalities in these fish after they recover,” says Dr Mark Roth of the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Center in Seattle, US. “They have grown to adulthood, mated and produced normal offspring.”

The research may have profound implications for the understanding of cancer.

Anti-cancer drugs

“We typically think of cancer cells as growing out of control,” says Dr Roth. “But actually the vast majority of cells in a tumour are in a state of low oxygen tension and are non-proliferating – which is the reason that some tumours don’t respond to certain forms of radiation and chemotherapy.”

Most anti-cancer drugs work by selectively killing actively dividing cells, meaning that non-dividing tumour cells are immune to treatment.

This new work may help in the understanding of why some cancer cells are in a form of hibernation, and how they may be attacked.

Suspended animation also has a role in the growth of normal cells, Dr Roth says.

“Stem cells – like those that give rise to your skin – are self-renewing and have the capacity to reproduce at certain times in your life,” he says.

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