Pigs can breathe oxygen via their rectum, so humans probably can too

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Oxygen cylinders

Medical oxygen is normally delivered to the lungs in gas form, but there could be another way

MARK THOMAS/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Piping an oxygen-rich liquid through the anus could be a life-saver. A new treatment for failing lungs that involves such a process has been successfully tested in pigs.

People with low blood oxygen levels may be treated in intensive care by being put on a ventilator, which blows air into their lungs. But this usually requires sedation and can injure delicate lung tissue. “It can be really damaging,” says Takanori Takebe at the Tokyo Medical and Dental University.

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Takebe wondered if people could absorb oxygen through…

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