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People who are at high risk of stroke or fatal heart attack should be able to daily take a drug that - in the event of the big one - activates to give them time to be rushed to a hospital and revived.
It might release a trickle of oxygen - just enough to barely keep cells alive. Or more likely
it might release a cellular activity suppression substance so that cells conserve what oxygen is left near them. Perhaps the drug simply instantly chills the body via an endothermic reaction - it is well known that a very low body temperature can allow a person to survive without breathing for a relatively long period.
Perhaps the drug is nano-encapsulated with a multi-level seal that starts to un-ravel in the presence of CO2, but re-closes in it's absence - so only really high concentrations of CO2 in the blood will make it fully open and release the drug.
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||gets rid of your hangover too. bloody miracle drug, I say.
||TomRC - you have a seed of an idea here, unfortunately right at the end after your magical invokations. The idea of a drug which would only release at a high blood acid level is interesting - high blood acids occur in people who have stopped breathing or have other severe metabolic problems.
This could be an idea in and of itself, but folks would ask - OK, you got the when, but how about the what?
|| The question is - what should this emergency drug be? I think you have put people off by giving them too many options. The cellular metabolic suppression idea is not a bad one; some people think acidic blood does this already, and maybe some sort of additional thing could help. I seem to recall hearing that the burst of oxygen cells receive after going without can be very damaging - maybe a free radical scavenger like vitamin C would be good.
||I liked the red plants idea too, by the way.