Breathe underwater..unaided?

I watched the movie “abyss” the other night and in one part, in order to get from one place to the other under water ( to save the day or something) Ed Harris puts on this helmet full of water that is supposedly so Oxygen enriched and such a close simulation to the water filled womb we all float in before birth, that he could breath in it…and for an extended period of time. I am almost sure I have seen film or tv clips of white rats suspended in this kind of water in real life…who seem to be breathing just fine. Of course my question is…is that possible in real life.?

Of course that’s just my opinion I could be wrong.
Dennis Miller

I’ve heard that a human can breathe in ambionic fluid, but it’s extremely difficult (today at least, who knows about tomorrow) to synthesize it. I’m too lazy to cite this, so you can either take my word for it, or search it yourself. :slight_smile:

“I hear the mermaids singing, each to each. I do not think that they will sing to me.” -T.S. Eliot

I always thought new-unyet-borns never acutally breathed amniotic fluid and, up until birth, got 100% of their nutrients neccessary for life through the umbilical cord. If amniotic fluid was in fact oxygenated, then why do nurses put newborns on oxygen for the first few minutes of life?

“If God had meant for man to eat waffles,
he would have given him lips like snowshoes”
-Rev. Billy C. Wirtz

Um, amniotic fluid is basically the fetus’ urine.

I recall reading manny years ago about the “breathing liquid” experiments. This was while UFO was still a first-run show, so you can guess how outdated my info probably is. Anyway, the hyperoxygenated fluid wasn’t water, but something else that wouldn’t cause osmotic problems in lung tissue.

No, I don’t remember any details.

Here is a link that has some info on breathing a oxygenated liquid fluorocarbon(sp?)

Will try to find more.

t lion

" I Wonder What Happens When I push THIS Button? "

I’ve never heard of babies being put on O2, so I don’t really know anything about it, but it couldn’t possibly be necessary in all or most cases, could it? Obviously, people were successfully born before we had bottled O2.

Here ta go! Human gills.
I read somewhere (On a Slurpee cup?) that this had been done in France, but I can’t back it up with a cite.

Work like you don’t need the money…
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Why do they put the “y” and the “t” keys on a keyboard backwards? :slight_smile:

Animal experiments have been done with oxygenated liquid perfluorocarbon. Small animals can breathe the stuff for some period of time.
Larger animals such as people have much longer breathing tubes however, and lack the muscles to move the fluid in and out properly.

It seems to me if that’s the trouble they could work out some sort of pump that would help do the work for you. What are the potential benefits of doing this, anyway? Is this for space travel, deep sea diving, or just a really cool looking?

As a swag, I would say that with no nitrogen or gas other than oxygen present, narcosis and decompression sickness would not be an issue, so there could be a benefit when diving. One could stay down for long periods of time without the necessity of undergoing decompression.
The oxygen partial pressure would have to be carefully controlled since oxygen becomes toxic at pressures somewhere over 1.4 atmospheres.

This whole issue was extensively discussed previously in this forum at least once. I would provide the link, but I still can’t convince the search engine to produce intelligent results… However, look back at the time frame of August to October.

Part of the reason this stuff was developed was that, in really deep sea diving, pressure on your body would squash all the non-liquid filled parts of your body. Fortunately, most of the body is liquid filled; unfortunately, the gas-filled part is pretty vital. So it was natural to conceive of filling the lungs with liquid to keep them from getting crushed by great depths.

The trouble is, as other posters have alluded to, adult humans have trouble getting this viscous, heavy stuff down their long tracheae. Apparently rats have no such problem. Which makes rats the best candidates for deep sea-divers.

If you wanted to bother with it, I wonder if you could build an “iron lung” into your suit, so your muscles would have some help circulating the stuff. It would probably be easier just to have a “hard suit” with the pressure on the inside kept relatively normal. That would be subject to being crushed itself.

Oh heck, I’m waiting for my previous post search to bear fruit. Better stick with a bathysphere. Okay, fine, I’ve been sitting here for days and days and no dice from the search function, so we ain’t getting the URL of the previous thread on drown rats and fluorocarbon emulsions from me. So bleh

“Animal experiments have been done with oxygenated liquid perfluorocarbon. Small animals can breathe the stuff for some period of time.”

Some months back I watched one of those trauma shows on TLC, where a young girl (8, I think) had come near drowning in the Mississippi. They couldn’t get all the river sediment & gunk out by aspiration, so they put her on the oxygenated liquid perfluorocarbon for about a week. The circulation of the fluid flushed out her lungs while providing oxygen, and she eventually made a full recovery. Fascinating!
Keep in mind that she didn’t ‘breathe’ the stuff herself; she was on a pump.

Thanks for the tip. I usually watch that show while I am on the treadmill, but I missed that one. I will look for it.

Pardon me for asking, but how does this liquid perfluorocarbon not dilute out and ultimately remove the surfactant in the lungs? It seems to me such a liquid breathing system, while I suppose it could work in theory (and probably did in the case of the Mississippi drowning victim - though I never saw the show either) would necessarily cause the lungs to collapse on themselves like the inside of a wet plastic bag when the liquid was removed.

Dunno. I could only speculate. This would be a good question for a Pulmonologist, or biochemist.

I always figured a healthy diaphragm could reinflate the lungs after the liquid was removed. Sort of like when a newborn inhales radically while wailing it’s head off, having just cried the amniotic fluid out of its lungs.

I don’t suppose it would be pleasant, but I think it would be workable. I mean, I thought lungs only “stayed collapsed” if they had a hole in them or something…

Someone once told Jimi Hendrix it was impossible.