Cryopreservation-What Are Your Thoughts?

270px-Cryo_surgery

The gift of life is a beautiful thing that should not be taken for granted or wasted away by any means.  In fact, I am sure many of us find ourselves thinking about how life is so fleeting at times.  We celebrate with our family members and friends different occasions and then we might not see that family member or friend again for quite some time.  We fill our lives with so many activities that make us feel like life is infinite.  However, the gift of life is finite.  Many of us are probably struggling with the idea of death and can’t make any sense of it in the meaning of life since it is so opposite in its meaning.  We may find ourselves scared of that outcome and want to find some other answer.

According to the Merriam-Webster’s dictionary definition of cryopreservation, it is the preservation (as of cells) by subjection to extremely low temperatures.   The definition of cryonics is a procedure in which a person’s body is frozen just after he or she has died so that the body can be restored if a cure for the cause of death is found.  Also, the cryogenics definition is a science that deals with how very low temperatures are produced and how they affect other things.  These two words cryogenics and cryonics are commonly mistaken for the same thing which they however are not the same thing.  Cryogenics is the study and manipulation of materials at extremely low temperatures versus cryonics is the belief that a person or person’s body parts can be frozen at death, stored in a cryogenic vessel, and later brought back to life.  Scientists are working on cryonics today and it is still in its infancy.

Can a person be brought back to life from being in a deep freeze for many years and still retain who they are?  We see this technology performed in movies or TV shows but does the procedure really work?  If it did work, would you want the procedure to be performed on you?  I was reading on a website  that certain celebs have signed up for this procedure in their future.  Simon Cowell from American Idol and the X Factor TV shows was one of them.  Larry King the popular talk show host was another one.  The famous baseball player Ted Williams has been in this state of being since his death in 2002.  I think that a decision like this is of a similar magnitude as a decision like donating your organs to others.  These are big and important decisions about your body.  Any decision about your body is important but some are on a much higher scale than others.

If it proves to be successful for human beings, what would your life be like if you could come back to life after being frozen so many years and retain your same personality and bringing that into a future world?  I think personally that the prospect of a decision like that is very intimidating to me.  I believe that because there is one constant in life which is change and there are certain people who will not be there anymore for you to see.  I think it would be strange to wake up from a deep freeze and see someone I knew thirty years older while I retained my same age at the time.  I think this idea of freezing is going against the natural process that God put into motion for all of us.  I am not saying that the study of it is exactly bad but there are downfalls in my opinion of this kind of physics.  I again believe that God put into play a natural progression of events in the process of life for us and changing the steps of it could be possibly harmful in some ways.  I am all for advancement in different areas of science as long as a line is not crossed too far.

The process of cryopreservation can begin within a few minutes after someone is declared legally dead according to the law.  There is a difference between legal death and total death.  Legal death is when the person’s heart has stopped beating versus total death is when a person’s brain function ceases.  The point of cryopreservation is to preserve a person right after legal death occurs so that they can preserve the cells that are biologically still alive.  The time for this process to occur is very important in preserving the personality and cell activity of that individual.  The scientists perform the vitrification process after the person is taken under their care.  The vitrification process has to do with them removing the water in the cells in the body and replace it with a cryoprotectant or antifreeze to preserve the cells from drying out and forming ice crystals.  Then, the person is stored in a cylinder filled with liquid nitrogen at a very low temperature of -196 degrees Celsius for long-term cryopreservation.  This procedure is very costly and can cost starting at $14,000 for neurosuspension to up to $200,000 for full-body suspension.  The cryopreservation process began in 1962 and there are 270 people that have undergone this form of treatment already.  There has never been any human that has been successfully revived from cryopreservation yet but they are expecting by around 2040 to be successful with this nanotechnology.

Part of the idea behind this physics is for people to be preserved and be revived when they find a cure for some disease that they were stricken with and was incurable at the time. This is medical time travel.  There have been some movies made about this topic such as Forever Young(1992) starring Mel Gibson and Demolition Man(1993) starring Sylvester Stallone and Wesley Snipes to name a couple.  Benjamin Franklin, in a 1773 letter,[73] expressed regret that he lived “in a century too little advanced, and too near the infancy of science” that he could not be preserved and revived to fulfill his “very ardent desire to see and observe the state of America a hundred years hence.”  What are your thoughts concerning this matter of nanotechnology and where scientists are leading research for our future concerning this topic?

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Cryonics – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia// // //

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Cryopreservation-What Are Your Thoughts?

12 thoughts on “Cryopreservation-What Are Your Thoughts?

    1. Aunt Barbara, I think you posed a very good question which scientists and the volunteers will find out someday in the future and wouldn’t it be interesting to know what they find out! 🙂

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  1. James Herrell says:

    I did not know about the antifreeze part. And as wretched as our culture has become in just my lifetime, I see no point in being a stranger in such a strange future land. Today I will enjoy my life. And when I die I go to a better place. I have no desire to be a popcicle.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Phi Lee says:

      Hi Jen! (Where to start?… So I just will be brief for the moment…) I think I’ll piggyback’ on to James comments. James is obviously paying a homage to the late, great Robert Heinlein’s ‘Stranger in a Strange Land’ & possibly another work of his ‘Time Enough for Love’ s character Woodrow Wilson Smith (aka: Lazarus Long….a 2000yr+ man & his adventures…ref. also ‘The Note Books of Lazarus Long’). I concur with James. I’ll be ‘ PC’ here (I detest being PC… at esp. my age HaHa)…I believe that when I pass, I will go to a different, higher, not completely understood, better (Thank you James) energy level. We (man) are not ready for this….technology far out-distances Man’s ability to use it for common good….surprisingly much like it was in the Civil War (surprise). I don’t think that because we possibly have the means within grasp we should use it at this point in World history (aka:ZeitGeist…spirit of the Age/ definition of the Age) Interesting enough though Nature has it’s natural anti-freezes. I’ll leave with:

      Rana sylvatica is a species of wood frog whose special abilities boggle the mind. A study recently published in The Journal of Experimental Biology explains how they manage to be frozen, but not to death.

      National Geographic reports, “The tiny amphibians can survive for weeks with an incredible two-thirds of their body water completely frozen—to the point where they are essentially solid frogsicles. Even more incredible is the fact that the wood frogs stop breathing and their hearts stop beating entirely for days to weeks at a time. In fact, during its period of frozen winter hibernation, the frogs’ physical processes—from metabolic activity to waste production—grind to a near halt. What’s more, the frogs are likely to endure multiple freeze/thaw episodes over the course of a winter.”

      The frogs have cryoprotectants, or solutes in their blood that dramatically lower their freezing temperature. It protects the body’s cells and limits the amount of ice that can form in the body. By having a higher concentration of these cryoprotectants in its blood, this species of wood frog can survive being frozen even multiple times in a single winter.

      Phil Lee Quotes: “Science won’t let you die,” I’ve amended that slightly over the years: “Science / Politicos won’t let you die…as long as you turn in a Tax 1040 or have enough gold.”

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      1. Phil, I love how you talked about the species of wood frog that can freeze itself inside and remain living under that state of hibernation for months and then come back to life. It is a very interesting thought that you brought the Rana sylvatica example into your comments. I enjoyed reading that and the other comments you made too. Love your quotes at the end of your post! 🙂

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    2. James, I didn’t know about the anti-freeze part either or the technique of cryopreservation until I did the research about it. It is different but makes sense how they need the cryoprotectant in there to keep the cells from forming ice crystals. I can understand how you wouldn’t want to be a part of this experiment of nanotechnology. It is a big decision! 🙂

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    1. I can see your point on that, Sam. It would certainly be an odd-feeling coming back to life and seeing no one that you knew or knowing no one. That would be a shock that would definitely wake you up I think! 🙂

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