Breathing oxygen-enriched liquid is an old idea, but it's got a few flaws. One of those flaws being the removal of carbon dioxide from the bloodstream. A simpler problem is how to breathe it without gagging. Wouldn’t it be far easier if you just didn’t need to breathe at all?
Researchers at Boston Children’s Hospital thought so, so they created microparticles that can be injected into your bloodsteam and oxygenate it. Even if you can’t/aren’t breathing. And it can keep people alive for 15 to 30 minutes. Think about that. At worst, it’s 2/3 an episode of Seinfeld. At best, you could start a second.
The particles are pockets of oxygen in a layer of lipids, specifically fats. This is then suspended in liquid, which can be injected into the blood steam. The oxygen then “squeeze[s] through capillaries,” according to Dr. John Kheir of Boston Children’s Hospital.
The implications of this are enormous. It could mean doctors have another 15 to 30 minutes to work on patients who have lost the ability to breathe, an amount of time that could potentially save lives.
The real question, though, is does this mean we can now breathe underwater?