Tag Archives | cryogenics

Memories Can Survive Cryogenic Preservation

Richard Gray via Daily Mail:

It is a technology that has remained firmly in the realms of science fiction, but new research has provided hope for those hoping to be revived after being cryogenically frozen.

The study claims to have shown for the first time that memories formed before an animal has been frozen can survive intact after it has been thawed.

While the experiments were carried out in an organism with a somewhat simpler brain than humans – nematode worms – they answer an important question about the cryogenic process.

Overall there are not many creatures capable of being revived after being cryogenically frozen, and it has never been successfully achieved with any mammal.

However, if they could be reanimated, scientists have questioned whether the memory and personality of someone who had gone through the process would remain the same.

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‘We Will Live Again’ Offers Look At Cryonics Institute

Some of you may remember Majestic’s post detailing some of the reasons why freezing yourself may be a terrible way to cheat death. Robert Ettinger of the Cryonics Institute begs to differ. This short film offers a rare look into the lives (and deaths) of those who share Ettinger’s vision.

Via Short of the Week:

A withered man, nine-decades-old and held-up in part by a wooden cane, reclines beside a stack of self-published scientific books. The walls of his home are barren, the counters scattered with copious vitamins and supplements. “When people say they don’t want to extend their lives,” he says, “they’re talking without thinking.” This is Robert Ettinger, aka “The Iceman”. Nearing the final chapter of his life, he doesn’t buy into the notion of death – at least, not in the traditional sense – and he doesn’t believe you have to, either. As founder of the Cryonics Institute, Ettinger has devoted a giant portion of his life to cryogenics, the process by which human beings are stripped of their blood, filled with antifreeze, and frozen (by way of liquid nitrogen), where they are then stored in a sustained kind of limbo until more-advanced technology can “awaken” them.

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Why Freezing Yourself Is a Terrible Way to Achieve Immortality

Photo: Alcor Life Extension Foundation (CC)

Photo: Alcor Life Extension Foundation (CC)

Just in case you were thinking of cryogenically freezing yourself until technology exists to stop you from dying of whatever ailment you think will terminate your current existence, Gizmodo suggests it may not be such a great idea:

What happens after we die? It’s a question that has plagued the human mind since we first developed the concept of “death.” The search for an answer—and, more importantly, a means of circumventing its effects—has encited organized religion and served to shape one of the foundations of human culture.

We’ve built pyramids to house our dead in the afterlife, constructed terracotta armies to protect them, sacrificed the living in their honor, and even developed preservation techniques to ward off decomposition—all in the effort to somehow defy the permanence of death and resurrect at least a part, however intangible, of the deceased person.

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Dead Indian Guru Cryogenically Frozen By Followers

guruIf only modern refrigeration technology had existed in the biblical era. Via the BBC:

Devotees of a dead guru in India have told the BBC they put his body in a freezer to preserve him as they believe he will return to life to lead them.

Thought to have been in his seventies, Ashutosh Maharaj was declared dead by authorities in Punjab on January 29. But, confident that he was merely in a state of deep meditation, his followers froze his corpse.

He led the Divya Jyoti Jagrati Sansthan (Divine Light Awakening Mission) which claims more than 30 million followers.

His spokesman Swami Vishalanand told the BBC that although doctors had declared Maharaj “clinically dead”, he was actually alive and in a state of samadhi, which is the highest plane of meditation.

The website of the Divya Jyoti Jagrati Sansthan says it was established in 1983 and aims to “achieve world peace”.

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Frozen Brain Bank Thaws, Setting Back Autism Research Ten Years

Yech, just imagine cleaning up this mess. Via the Guardian:

A freezer malfunction at a Harvard-affiliated hospital has damaged a third of the world’s largest donated brain tissue for autism research. In all, 93 donated brains were damaged.

A spokeswoman for Autism Speaks said it was too early to assess the impact of the loss, discovered last month at the McLean hospital in Belmont, Massachusetts, but one scientist predicted it could set research on the disorder back by as much as a decade.

Two investigations are under way to determine how the freezer failure happened. While foul play was not being ruled out, it is unlikely because the collection was located in a locked room within a secure building accessible by one of two keys held by security staff and brain bank staff.

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Founder Of Cryogenics Movement Dies (For The Time Being)

Robert-EttingerAct One of Robert Ettinger’s existence has drawn to a close. I plan on watching Weekend at Bernie’s in tribute. Associated Press reports:

Robert Ettinger, pioneer of the cryonics movement that advocates freezing the dead in the hope that medical technology will enable them to live again someday, has died. He was 92. His body became the 106th to be stored at the Cryonics Institute, which he founded in 1976.

The Cryonics Institute charges $28,000 to prepare a body and store it long-term in a tank of liquid nitrogen at minus 321 degrees Fahrenheit. The first person frozen there was Ettinger’s mother, Rhea Ettinger, who died in 1977. His two wives, Elaine and Mae, also are patients at the Institute. Similar facilities for preserving dead bodies operate in Arizona, California and Russia.

Ettinger also established the Immortalist Society, a research and education group devoted to cryonics and extending the human life span.

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Does Your Spouse Hate That You Want To Be Cryogenically Frozen?

11cryonics-t_CA2-popupThe New York Times has an intriguing article on the tension that often arises between people that want to be cryogenically preserved after death and those people’s loved ones. Is it a selfish act to hope for the revival of your frozen brain centuries into the future? Or are the rest of us just jealous of cryogenics enthusiasts’ cheery refusal to accept death as inevitable?

Robert Ettinger is the father of cryonics, his 1964 book, “The Prospect of Immortality,” its founding text. “This is not a hobby or conversation piece,” he wrote in 1968, adding, “it is the struggle for survival. Drive a used car if the cost of a new one interferes. Divorce your wife if she will not cooperate.” Today, with just fewer than200 patients preserved within the two major cryonics facilities, the Michigan-based Cryonics Institute and the Arizona-based Alcor, and with 10 times as many signed up to be stored upon their legal deaths, cryonicists have created support networks with which to tackle marital strife.

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Wake From Cryonics

Here’s an interesting idea. Finance your cryogenic preservation using life insurance — and then leave a huge death benefit to your future thawed self!

“Most in the middle class, if they seriously want it, can afford it now. So by taking the right steps, you can look forward to waking up one bright future morning from cryopreservation the proud owner of a bank account brimming with money!”

But there’s one important caveat. Some insist that money “will have no meaning in a future dominated by advanced molecular manufacturing or other engines of mega-abundance.

“In this case waking from cryonics rich or poor would be exactly the
same…” (This article first appeared in the fall issue of H+ magazine…)

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Ted Williams Frozen Head Beaten with a Monkey Wrench

Ted_Williams_list_viewvia nymag.com
In a new book called Frozen: My Journey Into the World of Cryonics, Deception, and Death, Larry Johnson, a former executive at the Alcor Life Extension Foundation in Scottsdale, Arizona, details what he saw while working at the facility, including the terrible things workers did to the head and body of Red Sox player Ted Williams. According to the Daily News today, it's gruesome and inexplicable stuff, including an incident the newspaper un-tastefully describes as "batting practice." "Johnson writes that in July 2002, shortly after the Red Sox slugger died at age 83, technicians with no medical certification gleefully photographed and used crude equipment to decapitate the majors' last .400 hitter." "Holes were drilled in Williams' severed head for the insertion of microphones, then frozen in liquid nitrogen while Alcor employees recorded the sounds of Williams' brain cracking 16 times as temperatures dropped to -321 degrees Fahrenheit." "The head was balanced on an empty can of Bumble Bee tuna to keep it from sticking to the bottom of its case." "Johnson describes watching as another Alcor employee removed Williams' head from the freezer with a stick, and tried to dislodge the tuna can by swinging at it with a monkey wrench." The technician, no .406 hitter like the baseball legend, missed the can with several swings of the wrench and smacked Williams' head directly, spraying "tiny pieces of frozen head" around the room."
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