University professor attempts to live underwater for 100 days

Previous studies have found that cells exposed to increased pressure doubled within five days.
Loukia Papadopoulos
Joseph Dituri under water.jpg
Joseph Dituri under water.

University of South Florida 

A University of South Florida associate professor will live underwater for 100 days and seek to break a world record while attempting to make himself super-human, according to a press release by the institution published this month.

The current world record for living underwater is 73 days.

In order to examine how the human body responds to long-term exposure to extreme pressure, Joseph Dituri will live 30 feet below the surface in a 100-square-foot habitat located at Jules’ Undersea Lodge in Key Largo. ‘

He will be supervised by a medical team that will report on the 55-year-old’s health by routinely diving to his habitat to run a series of tests. Dituri will undergo psychosocial, psychological and medical tests, including blood panels, ultrasounds and electrocardiograms, as well as stem cell tests.

“The human body has never been underwater that long, so I will be monitored closely,” Dituri said. “This study will examine every way this journey impacts my body, but my null hypothesis is that there will be improvements to my health due to the increased pressure.”

Dituri is basing his theory on conclusions found in a study where cells exposed to increased pressure doubled within five days. This indicates that the increased pressure can help humans to increase their longevity and prevent diseases associated with aging.

“So, we suspect I am going to come out super-human!” Dituri said.

Dituri previously served in the U.S. Navy for 28 years as a saturation diving officer. It was after his retirement in 2012 that he enrolled at USF to earn his doctoral degree to learn more about traumatic brain injuries. 

Traumatic brain injuries

“Many of my brothers and sisters in the military suffered traumatic brain injuries and I wanted to learn how to help them,” Dituri said. 

“I knew well that hyperbaric pressure could increase cerebral blood flow and hypothesized it could be used to treat traumatic brain injuries. I hypothesize that applying the known mechanisms of action for hyperbaric medicine could be used to treat a broad spectrum of diseases.”

During the 100-day mission Dituri will also test new technologies, such as an artificial intelligence tool developed by a colleague that can screen a human body for illness and determine if any medications are needed. 

“Everything we need to survive is here on the planet,” he said in the statement. “I suspect the cure to many diseases can be found in undiscovered organisms in the ocean. To find out, we need more researchers.”

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