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Tetradotoxin

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Is a neurotoxin – C11H17N3O8 – found especially in puffer fish. The neurotoxin blocks nerve conduction by suppressing permeability of the nerve fiber to sodium ions. A synthetic derivative of the neurotoxin was used in the early Twenty-second Century to induce hibernation pharmacologically in humans.

Principal applications of the drug were extended surgical procedures and space travel hibernation. The use in protracted surgical procedures was required where the procedures, of necessity, were longer than safe anesthesia permitted. The drug was administered to surgical patients reducing their metabolism and slowing anatomical processes.

Human hibernation made interstellar space travel feasible until the slipdrive was developed in the late Twenty-fourth Century. Passengers and most of the crew were given injections and then placed in hiburnaculae where their body temperatures were reduced to 283°A. This reduction caused bodily functions to be reduced by 95%. On a voyage of 40 years shiptime the hibernators would age only slightly more than three years.

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