'Hibernating' Man Survives Three Weeks Without Food or Water

Mary Katharine Ham
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Posted: Dec 21, 2006 9:44 AM

Was he waiting for the Nintendo Wii?

I figured with all the sad news lately of lost hikers and lost fathers in the woods of Oregon, you'd appreciate this story, from Japan:

Mitsutaka Uchikoshi had almost no pulse, his organs had all but shut down and his body temperature was 71 degrees Fahrenheit when he was discovered on Rokko mountain in late October, said doctors who treated him at the nearby Kobe City General Hospital. He had been missing for 24 days.

Doctors believe Uchikoshi, a city official from neighboring Nishinomiya who was visiting the mountain for a barbecue party, tripped and later lost consciousness in a remote mountainous area.

His body temperature soon plunged as he lay in 50-degree weather, greatly slowing down his metabolism.

"(Uchikoshi) fell into a state similar to hibernation and many of his organs slowed, but his brain was protected," said Dr. Shinichi Sato, head of the hospital's emergency unit. "I believe his brain capacity has recovered 100 percent."

Uchikoshi was treated for severe hypothermia, multiple organ failure and blood loss from his fall, but was unlikely to experience any lasting ill effects, Sato said.

Amazing.