Re: Is cryopreservation a solution?

Geoff Smith (
Sat, 13 Sep 1997 17:22:15 -0700 (PDT)

On Sun, 14 Sep 1997, Joao Pedro wrote:

> Hi!
> Geoff Smith wrote:
> > I think I mentioned this before, but.. dehydrate the cells! I wish
> > someone versed in zoology would butt in here and add some more informed
> > discussion about the frogs that freeze and unfreeze with no outside
> > intervention.
> > If the frog's strategy of dehydrating their cells does not work for
> > humans, give me a reason why not.
> I'm no zoologist, I'm graduating in Microbiology

me, too, again. What university?

> and, as far as I know,
> adding cryoprotectants (glycerol or dimethylsulfoxide mostly) is
> necessary to preserve microorganisms at very low temperatures. They act
> by preventing the formation of water crystals.
> There are indeed complex species (such as some frogs) that can survive
> freezing, they do so by producing a cryoprotectant and then spreading it
> through the body.
> Our case is much different, first because we are obviously much more
> complex than any microorganism or even than a frog.

That's not a reason, silly!

Your second one is though:

> Second because the
> cryoprotective agent certainly acts differently in our different types
> of cells, remember that the frog is 'designed' by Mother Nature to
> survive at lower temperatures and therefore it's cells are certainly
> much better adapted than ours independently of the cryoprotective agent.

Yes, very true. This is why it is not a *simple* problem. I'm not
convinced it's a difficult problem, either. Our cells aren't THAT
different from a frogs. The basic constituents and structure are the
same, and that is what is important when considering the damage done to
cells. Can we duplicate what a frog can do in humans? I think so. Can
we do it relatively soon? I think so. But I have no evidence to prove or
disprove this statement, nor do you. So what both of us have to do is
weight the odds. And those odds are increasing every day.

> Finally, all I remember is reading at least one study (yes, I'll try to
> find the authors) in which animal brains were frizzed using the same
> procedure of cryonics and severe brain damage was observed (see 'How and
> Why We Age' page 300-301, I know Hayflick is too pessimistic but I agree
> with him on this subject). I can find a million of explanations for the
> observed brain damage but what I think is the main point is that current
> (I don't know how will they be in the future) cryonics does severely
> damage the brain, possibly (as far as I know no-one knows for sure)
> beyond repair.

Yet, current cryonics will not be current tomorrow. And if you get a life
insurance policy to pay for cryonic suspension, surely you are not
intending to be frozen with current cryonic techniques? (unless you
think your life is in danger)

> > Do you intend to still have a genome in 1000 years. I don't. I'll have
> > had all the kids I want to by then, so why else would I need one? If you
> > don't like the flawed human genome, get rid of it! Think about the
> > advancements that have occurred in the last 50 years... now think what we
> > will be able to do 1000 years from now. Getting rid of the genome will be
> > trivial. This is in essence what "uploading" is, I suggest you do some
> > research. There is already a multitude of nascent strategies for
> > uploading the human mind.
> > All this would be irrelevant to you if you think the genome is necessary
> > for consciousness- but, again, give me some evidence.
> I'll be honest with you, I don't know what uploading is, I think is the
> transfer of human consciousness to, say, a computer but that part of
> extropism never really called much attention from me. My object of
> preservation are my neurons or, specifically, my brain. If I lose my
> brain, even that there is a computer with an exact copy of my feelings,
> emotions, thoughts, etc, I'll die. Therefore to survive I need to
> preserve my brain, probably my body and for that I'll need to maintain a
> genome, I can't get rid of my genes.

What's the difference between altering you current brain and genome, and
transferring to a new one? Is there something special about the neurons
that nature gave us? And if they're so special, why don't you leave
them the way they are? I'm not so attached to them. As long as I can do
all the same things with my new consciousness-vehicle(or more things), why
should I care whether I've got organic axons or metal ones?

Don't you think your brain is a bit too fragile? Personally, I lose
neurons everyday, and they don't grow back. Don't yours do the same?
Aren't you going to run out eventually?

> As for evidence, well it's more of a philosophical, theoretical problem
> rather than a biological one. See the few cases I placed in my last two
> messages and you'll know what I mean. Personally, I believe (and notice
> the verb to believe instead of the usual verb to think) that I'm my
> brain and that is my conscience.

I cannot debate against someone who "believes." Have you read Max More's
paper on Pancritical Rationalism. I see it as a fairly good alternative
to "believing." Can't you see that belief stagnates progress?
What if you're wrong?

> > Why are you placing all your bets on aging research? This seems overly
> > risky :(
> What other options do I have? Cryopreservation? Uploading (what is it
> exactly?)?

Yes and yes. And for your last question, I recommend you go to the
internet and search for it. ( unless someone else can recommend some
books??? )

> Berrie Starign wrote:
> >But can someone give me 1 good reason why you
> >should not at least try Cryopreservation !?
> >asuming that the aging problem isn't solved before you die.
> >and even if the chance that it works is 0.000000001 %
> >
> > If you like to live longer then " normal " isn't cryopreservation,
> > the one and only thing you can try ?
> Arjen Kamphuis basically already answered this question but I also would
> like to add that on a personal basis I'm not a millionaire and therefore
> if I died I would probably prefer to ensure a good life for my children
> (no, I don't have any children but let's suppose I have when I die)
> instead of spending my money on something that most likely won't work.

Whoah. That's pretty pessimistic... but undebatable.

> Besides, I'm alive and until I reach the very end I'll try to solve the
> aging problem. When I see death before my eyes I'll think of short-term
> options such as cryonics but until then, I'll work on life extension and
> aging research.

Seems logical. Just make sure you have enough money, because when you
"see death before your eyes", you won't have much time to make more!

> I wrote another message but since it's not directly related to cryonics
> I decided to send two separate messages.
> Thank you for your replies,