Wednesday, June 01, 2022
What is cryonics?
"Cryonics is the practice of preserving life by pausing the dying process using subfreezing temperatures with the intent of restoring good health with medical technology in the future. " - ALCOR
It may sound like science fiction to most at first, but it is based on modern science. Biological materials —living cells, sperm, oocytes, mesenchymal stromal cells and human embryonic stem cells, human embryos are routinely preserved for years at very low temperatures using liquid nitrogen with high success of revival. Animal organs have shown successful cryogenic preservation. The human body can survive being cooled for up to an hour at low temperatures that stop the heart, the brain, and all other organs. Successful cryopreservation is deemed probable and science is gradually getting closer to understanding the elements to successful biostasis, cryogenic engineering and revival.
Why choose cryonics?
The logic goes like this: in the unfortunate event of becoming terminally ill, or being close to death from myriad causes, you can either choose to die, be pronounced dead, be buried or cremated, which guarantees your identity's final end, or you can choose cryonics which will hold your brain and/or body in cryogenic suspension for a long time, until science catches up.
Does cryonics work?
The procedure is in its experimental stages. Tissue revival is being conducted in labs and IVF clinics on a daily basis. Whether cryogenic engineering can extend its expertise to a full brain or human bodies is yet to be determined. It's perhaps better to be in the experimental group rather than the control group, buried underground. This is the foresight-driven logic backing cryonics. The future of medicine, biotechnology, nanotechnology, computational systems and AI will bring solutions that we cannot even fathom today.
How is the human body cryopreserved?
The cryopreservation process ideally begins days before predicted death or as soon as a dying person experiences cardiac arrest. The dying process is gradual, the transition from alive to dead is not instantaneous. It takes time and the doctors take advantage of this to 1. try to revive you, which is often successful in the ER, but if this is not possible, cryonics is the next step in the emergency tool kit.
During the dying process, the cells and organs are still viable, despite the patient being pronounced legally dead. During this time, the doctors can temporarily restore blood circulation and breathing, cool the body down to low temperatures for transport. Once in a cryonics facility, cryoprotectants are perfused to prevent freezing and ice crystal formation (prevent intracellular ice formation). The patient is then cooled down to well below freezing point -196° C in liquid nitrogen, from here on protected from deterioration for theoretically thousands of years.
At this point of the procedure, "... the dying process has been effectively stopped." — ALCOR
You are legally dead, yet your life is on hold. Your body can technically be revived in the future. Astounding. This is not science fiction.
What are the risks of cryonics?
Since the procedure is still experimental, there may be risks associated. Cryoprotectants are used at this time to prevent intracellular ice formation, extracellular ice crystals and cryopreservation methods continually refine to maximize revival success. It is technically possible that the cryogenic liquids and cryoprotectant toxicity may affect some tissues and that cell survival is compromised. For this reason, many people opt for neuropreservation, the brain-only cryogenic procedure. The success rate is deemed higher since there is less tissue to preserve and advanced technologies are easier to administer to the brain versus the whole body. The high rate of neuropreservation choice amongst cryogenists points to the fact that cryonics is essentially about preserving your identity, your information, and that cryonics itself is dependent on future technology to succeed in regrowing a body and/or uploading consciousness and identity to a cybernetic substrate. Only the future will reveal what is possible.
How much does cryonics cost?
The rates vary from 80,000 to 200,000. Interestingly however, most people sign up for cryonics through their life-insurance, for a monthly payment ranging from 25-800 a month, depending on how early you start. If you think about it, it's not that much more than the cost of a burial/funeral, and in this manner you still stand a chance of living in the future. It's an option many people are opting for, especially since it's considered just a 'pause' on life until science has solutions.
How can pluripotent stem cells help?
If you decide that you want a chance at a long life and cryonics is a part of that plan, then the most important decision that comes next is the question of how to prepare your brain and your body to be at its optimal condition at any age. Having a healthy brain and body is key in the long term success. Pluripotent stem cells can help the brain and the whole body to keep at its optimal health.
What are pluripotent stem cells?
Pluripotent stem cells are derived from the inner cell mass of 5-day old blastocyst. They are undifferentiated and comprehensive in their tissue-reach. Pluripotent stem cells and their signaling transcription factors are designed to signal repair in all 220+ types of tissue in the body and to reprogram human cells to a more youthful phenotype, to a healthier state so that you can repair more effectively.
If you are opting in for neuropreservation, focusing on identity-preservation, it's key to prevent cognitive decline, dementia and Alzheimer's. Pluripotent stem cells have a high affinity to the central nervous system and the brain. They signal potent DNA repair factors, telomere elongating factors, immunomodulating factors, angiogenic and neurotrophic factors that repair damage and reprogram all areas of the brain for healthier function.
If you are opting in for full body cryonics, it is key to keep rejuvenating all tissues of the human body. Functional and regenerative medicine focus on helping patients find the most precision-based strategies to keep healthy and keep rejuvenating with chronological age. Pluripotent stem cells and their exosomes, Plurisomes, signal repair and simultaneously turn back the clock on biological systems. This is referred to in scientific literature as 'reprogramming-induced rejuvenation'.
Human bodies are resilient. They can withstand infections and toxicities. But when it comes to old age or chronic illness, it gets harder and harder to fight the entropy. Pluripotent stem cells support the brain and the body in remaining youthful on a cellular level so that the human tissue can repair, regenerate. In the unfortunate event of near death or death, it's really important to be at our best physiologically so that we can be either revived or our life put on pause until science can help us in the future.
The science of cryonics is still refining, but the scientific advancements are accelerating fast. What the future holds we don't know, but one thing that is certain, if we want to live for a very long time, keeping healthy, keeping rejuvenating and signing up for cryonics may be a smart way to go.