Research: Seal & Man Without Air: A Common Defense

What happens to the human circulatory system when breathing is shut off?

Dr. Per Frederik Scholander wanted to know, because the information might help to save lives threatened by suffocation. The answer, he learned, is that the body takes heroic measures to protect its inner fortress — the brain, lungs and heart itself. In accomplishing this, the rest of the body is starved of blood, a process that may have unwanted and dangerous side effects.

More remarkable than Dr. Scholander's interest in the subject and the answer he found was his experimental approach. He took seals to his laboratory at the University...

Want the full story?

Subscribe Now


Get TIME the way you want it

  • One Week Digital Pass — $4.99
  • Monthly Pay-As-You-Go DIGITAL ACCESS$2.99
  • One Year ALL ACCESSJust $30!   Best Deal!
    Print Magazine + Digital Edition + Subscriber-only Content on

Learn more about the benefits of being a TIME subscriber

If you are already a subscriber sign up — registration is free!