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Humans could breathe out of their buttholes like pigs, and trials will begin this year

Got a blocked nose? No worries. Soon, you’ll have another option to breathe through.

Your butthole. You heard it right. 

In studies exploring treatment for people with respiratory conditions, a team of researchers in Japan has revealed that pigs can absorb oxygen through the anus, according to VICE World News.

The scientists discovered that the animals could survive without breathing through their lungs when oxygen and oxygenated liquid are pumped through their buttholes into their intestines.

“It’s so impressive because we never thought of breathing from the gut, but it’s possible,” Takanori Takebe, an author of the study and a doctor at the Tokyo Medical and Dental University, told VICE World News.

Last year, Takebe and his colleagues from Nagoya University Graduate School and Kyodo University’s Department of Respiratory Surgery published their study focusing on mice and how rodents and pigs share with certain aquatic organisms the ability to use their intestines for respiration.

They will submit their research on pigs to a U.S. medical journal in August. 

While that sounds cool and disturbing, research indicates that it could be possible with humans too, considering that pigs are closer to the latter in physiology and genetic makeup.

A surprisingly essential study

The scientists observed the unconventional breathing method by loaches, a freshwater fish that uses its intestines to breathe. They found that the structure of the loaches’ gut tissues changed to allow for easier breathing in conditions where there isn’t enough oxygen available at the tissue level.

Takebe tested mice to check if mammals would also breathe through their anus in oxygen-deprived conditions, according to the findings published in the journal Med last year. 

“I’m always very skeptical about the results, but it turns out every time we do the tests, we can get reproducible datasets,” said Takebe.

Takebe’s study revealed that mice who received the treatment lived longer than the ones that didn’t. The experiments showed that mammals could survive longer in low-oxygen situations when given oxygenated gas or liquid through their rectums.

However, it isn’t an evolutionary adaptation for mammals like loaches and catfish.

Now, why is this study crucial?

It could provide options for treating patients who suffer respiratory failure.

Doctors opt for mechanical ventilation when a patient needs oxygen. In the process, a machine pushes air through the windpipe.

Another technique called extracorporeal membrane oxygenation, wherein blood is pumped out of the body and reoxygenated with a machine, is also attempted. However, it carries the risk of bleeding and blood clots.

That’s when Takebe considered the unusual but life-saving option.

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