In the first half, Professor of medicine, Dr. David Casarett, discussed his exploration of the cutting edge of resuscitation, and just how far science has come. Writing from the perspective of a hospice doctor, he explored the latest technologies in suspended animation, cryonics, and what the future holds for the field of resuscitation. Defibrillation or shocking the heart back to life works best in patients who are young and otherwise healthy, he noted. In the case of Michelle Funk, a two-year old who drowned-- she was underwater for an hour, and spent another two hours without a heartbeat, "her heart was restarted, shocked back to life, and she went on to live a happy and healthy life," he recounted. When someone dies, their brain function starts to deteriorate after the first 10 minutes, but if they were in a cold environment such as water or snow, that can preserve the brain longer, he explained.
Based on the technology we have now, cryogenics (freezing the head or body of a person with hopes to resuscitate later) seems like a long shot, said Casarett, though many of the "cryonauts" (people considering having the procedure done when they die) recognize it as such. Suspended animation, he explained, reduces metabolism to 1% of normal, and decreases the need for oxygen. It could be particularly helpful for people who suffer cardiac arrest, gunshot wounds, or battlefield injuries where time is of the essence. "The science is pretty young, but what's going on right now involves cooling cardiac arrest or trauma victims to very, very low temperatures," he detailed. With elderly or terminal patients, we're getting much better at resuscitating them, though discussions about whether this is an advisable action are often not addressed, he lamented.
In the latter half, Professor of genetics Steve Jones talked about how tales from the Bible hold up to modern science. While not really an approximation of the Big Bang theory, the book of Genesis is actually quite a sophisticated account of how things might have come about, in its unfolding of events, he commented. Its notion that we've all descended from a real-life Adam and Eve makes sense in genealogical terms, though this couple would have existed amongst thousands or millions of other people, and wouldn't have been aware that they were progenitors, he suggested. Further, they were from different time periods-- Adam would have been a modern human from Africa around 100,000 years ago, and Eve could have been a protohuman from around 200,000 years ago, he detailed.
The Noah legend definitely reflects a real event-- there really were a number of enormous floods in the Middle East, he stated. In regards to Joshua blowing his trumpet and the walls of Jericho falling, this clearly could have been an earthquake, "and if there are earthquakes, there's often a great sound of rumbling, which could indeed be a trumpet," he explained.