Re: Is cryopreservation a solution?

Geoff Smith (
Sat, 20 Sep 1997 17:16:05 -0700 (PDT)

On Sun, 21 Sep 1997, Joao Pedro wrote:

> Hi!
> Geoff Smith wrote:
> > If you admit you were generalizing, do you retract your statement that
> > human cells are neccessarily more difficult to cryosuspend than other
> > cells with smaller genome? (I see you have deleted this statement from
> > your post)
> I didn't claimed human cells more difficult to cryosuspend, I claimed
> human beings more difficult to cryosuspend than frogs, there is an
> important difference and I still maintain my opinion on that matter.

Wrong. You said:

"Our case is much different, first because we are obviously much more
complex than any microorganism or even than a frog."

to which I said:

"That's not a reason, silly!"

and you replied:

"Errors occur and since we are more complex the chances of errors
occurring increases"

Come on, Joao, selective amnesia really detracts from a debate.

I'm wrong ever day, can you admit maybe your were in error, just with
once? It would really make it easier to debate with you.

> There might be exceptions but statistically speaking, mammals are bound
> to be more difficult to cryosuspend than other species because they are
> more complex.
> > What does IMHO mean, I've always wondered.
> In My Humble Opinion.

thanx :)

> > > Not in the same way as us. Our species appeared about 100 000 years ago
> > > while other species (such as alligators, etc) appeared much before. Of
> > > course that evolution made them more complex but at a lower rate than us
> > > and made them more 'perfect'.
> >
> > I'd like to hear your definition of "complex" and "perfect" as it pertains
> > to this statement.
> I define "perfection" as the absence of mistakes/errors. More 'perfect'
> means with less errors. "Complexity" is harder to define, in
> biology/zoology, perhaps the more functions an organism performs the
> more complex he is (including internal, cellular functions). Or perhaps
> the higher different types of proteins or cells an organism has, the
> more complex he is.

What if the organism has a multitude of different proteins and cells, but
they are organized in a simplistic way? I am wholly unsatisified with
this definition, and I fail to see how you can make such a concrete
biological statement based on it.

> > > BTW, sharks do get cancer, they get it a
> > > much lower rate than us but they naturally get it.
> >
> > Really? Live and learn. When was this discovered?
> I think I read it in Steven Austad's "Why We Age" (1997), I don't know
> who discovered it but I remember reading that he talked to a few
> specialists and they toll him of a few cancers that sharks get. I don't
> have the book, I read it in a library but I'll try to find the answer to
> your question.

thank you, Joao.

> > If you think the
> > functioning and abilities of your brain are "spiritual" and unknowable,
> > then I cannot debate with you, because your ideas have been cemented by faith.
> I don't think so, I was asking if you think so, I'm sorry if I offended
> you.

I was not in the least bit offended, but I am a little offended that you
chose to erase and not answer my original question : "Where do you find
something "spiritual" from my phrase "functioning and abilities of the
brain." Functioning and ability indicate something concrete and
studyable. If I said "mystical powers of the brain," this would indicate
something "spiritual" Is this just a language problem?

> > ...this is the great thing
> > about not having faith... infinite possibilities ;)
> Yes, if I wanted answers to all questions I would have gone to theology
> and not Microbiology (just kidding).

Whew, good! ;)

> > I think you'll find the majority of people want to fight aging. The
> > majority of people also want to die, when it is "their time." Weird,
> > isn't it?
> They don't want to die, they just learn to accept it.

I going to have to beg to differ on this one. Most religions promise a
superior afterlife, filled with bliss and devoid of all human problems and
pain. If I was a member of one of these religions, I would not only
accept death, I would be giddy with anticipation. I would want to die,
and if they didn't make that little rule that you go to hell if you commit
suicide, I would do it.

> Perhaps they're
> the smart ones, have a quiet, peaceful life while we burn our neurons
> trying to solve aging. We'll probably get ulcers too.

Our stomachs may get ulcers, but theirs will be rotting underground. I
prefer ulcers. (especially now that they can cure them with antibiotics)

> > I think you have entirely missed my point. I will give you 3 points will
> > together will give you much grief:
> >
> > 1. Your brain is fragile- you will lose neurons whether you age or not.
> > 2. You have a finite number of neurons.
> > 3. Your neurons do not grow back.
> > 4. You (I assume) want to live for a long time.
> I'll just write a citation from Leonard's Hayflick "How and Why We Age"
> "A controversial question in biogerontology is whether or not we lose
> nerve cells as we age." This is from the 1994 edition, there is a 1996
> edition with an extra chapter, I've read that chapter but I haven't read
> the rest, presumably it's the same sentence in the 1996 edition.
> And yet you affirm that I lose neurons!

Yep. And I'll affirm it again: you lose neurons. Maybe not every day,
I'm not making any claims about that. Remember when you reminded me of
that man who had the pole through his head, and his personality change.
Do you think he lost some neurons? Do you think it was aging?
Have you ever played soccer? Did you know that soccer players who head
the ball more have lower IQ's? Do you think the soccer ball is just
accelerating the aging process?

> Personally I think that we lose neurons but this is just to show you
> that sometimes things are not as simple as they look. IMHO, we lose
> neurons basically because of aging.

I won't argue with that. Sounds reasonable, but it doesn't affect my
point in the slightest.

> You put an interesting question, if one doesn't age, will he lose
> neurons (naturally, of course)?
> Sincerely I don't know and I bet (unless something new has been
> discovered in the last months) you don't either.

Looks like I've discovered something new!

I can see the headlines now:

"'Pole Through Head May Harm Neurons,' Says Geoff Smith, Prominent

> I guess we'll just have
> to wait and see.
> While looking in Hayflick's book I found a mention to replicating
> neurons in songbirds but he isn't very precise, all he says is that,
> songbirds' neurons replicate.

Try that Discover article I told you about, I think it has numerous

> > > Give a laboratory so that I can try them out.
> >
> > Ah, but I am just a student. Go where the money is-- not here.
> Where is the money?

Not here.

> What are you planning to do when you graduate?

Find it.

> > > I guess it's a bit irrational (when you don't have any evidences and
> > > need to draw conclusions, you use your balls right?)
> >
> > No, I don't. I find my balls are not very good at making logical
> > deductions. What do women do?
> Probably nothing, it explains a lot of things (sorry, stupid joke, I
> apologize immediately).

I will accept your apology on behalf of 3 billion women. Although I'm not
sure why you would apologize, I think this tesicular deduction you speak
of may explain why there are more women in university than men. (maybe not
in Portugal, but in Canada there is)

Luckily, I am not adding to this imbalance since I do not make testicular

> > You're going to let computers become more intelligent than you? Haven't
> > you seen Terminator 2 ?!?
> Yes I did but as long as they serve us, it's ok.

Why do you think that an entity *more* intelligent than you in every way
would want to serve you.

Myself, being not neccessarily more intelligent than you, does not want to
serve you, so why would a more intelligent creature wish to?