A WHOLE NEW KIND OF "K" RATION

k_hole.jpgIf it's good enough for ravers, it's good enough for G.I.s. That's the thinking, apparently, behind the Army's decision to test the animal tranquilizer Ketamine as away to soothe injured soldiers.The drug known in the clubs has "Special K" has been reducing party-goers to gurgling blobs for more than a decade. This year, the Army has been running final, phase III Food and Drug Administration trials on a quarter-dose nasal inhaler of "K," to see if it can substitute for morphine."With morphine, the soldier's just gorfed, he can't do anything," Col. Bob Vandre, of the Army's Medical Research and Materiel Command, told me as I stopped by his booth -- a mock MASH tent -- at the Army Science Conference. "With this, he can drive his truck, or shoot his gun."Col. Vandre said he knew full well that Ketamine "had been snorted by people at rave parties" and that "it makes you kind of weird, sort of like acid."However, he promised, the military's dose of "K" would not have the same effects."It doesn't make you weird," Col. Vandre said. "But it does reduce pain."The Ketamine snort is one of a number of novel treatments Col. Vandre was showing to conference-goers. Further up the pipeline was a tiny bottle filled even smaller bubbles, just two microns across. The bubbles in this dodecafluoropentane emulsion swelled to double-size when they were in the lungs. And once they started flowing to the rest of the body, the bubbles distributed oxygen more efficiently than normal red blood cells, Col. Vandre claimed. 40 cubic centimeters just eight teaspoons was as good at delivering oxygen as all of the blood flowing inside a person."We've taken mice, drained out all of their blood, and replaced it with a saline solution and this," Col. Vandre said. "They walk around like nothing's happened."At least for a half-hour or so. That's when the bubbles begin to lose their fizz, and the mouse needs its blood back, if it's going to live.THERE'S MORE, DUDE: Back in '64, the Army decided it'd be a good idea to give 60 of its soldiers inhalable LSD. Here is what they found.AND MORE: "Ketamine is already FDA approved in humans as an anesthetic drug and has been for years," reader 5911674 notes over on the Defense Tech forum. That's right: in kids, "K" has been okayed for, among other things, "induction of general anesthesia" and "sedation in the intensive care unit." 5911674 is also right that I should've mentioned this before. Good catch.

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