Future of Cryonics [was Re: I ask your views on Mike Darwin's posts] (fwd)

Robert J. Bradbury (bradbury@www.aeiveos.com)
Sun, 3 Oct 1999 10:21:39 -0700 (PDT)

This is another message that I sent to Chris, that may possibly of general interest to the group. Chris's response indicated that he was generally aware of my points and thought the idea was of some interest.

On Sat, 2 Oct 1999, Chris Fedeli wrote:

> > > What do think of the current state of cryonics?
> > > Is there hope for reversible suspension even within twenty years?
> Brian Wowk, physicist at 21CM, went on the record with the prediction
> that reversible cryo-suspension of a brain would be accomplished in ten
> years. He said that on one of the videotapes that 21CM released
> detailing their research and business plan.
> Good to know that some of the older folks on this list will have
> something to fall back on :)

Chris, you need to rethink this unless we get progress on the legal front. I was contacted by a person from Oregon a few days ago about my perspective on aging research. During the discussion I pointed out the problems that the illegality of pre-death cryonic suspensions drives up both our health care costs *and* effectively *kills* people. If people who are undergoing frequent strokes or who have degenerative brain diseases are kept alive, there may be nothing left to "reanimate" if you freeze them after they die.

The basic evolutionary biology of aging says that even when we lick one problem there will be another problem waiting behind that. There is a very good chance we will solve the organ transplant shortage problem in the next 10 years. If so, we may end up with old bodies but increasingly frail brains. I believe that natural neuronal cell death (which is real, though not as severe as was thought in the '50's & '60's), *will* catch up with you past 150 years. If we do not develop ways of stopping Alzheimer's, Parkinson's, neuronal cell death, etc. you will end up dead. Adding replacement cells and/or stimulating neuronal stem cell division may be stop-gap measures. The replacement cells will not help you recover your former memories, education, etc. if the cells that were holding that information died.

Now, the obvious solution to this is to suspend yourself around age 70-100 (before you have lost a lot of function) and wait for the technology to get much better.

Doing that requires a *significant* change in the legal environment. I suggested to the person I spoke with, that after she investigated it further, that Oregon might be an interesting place to put such an innovative idea on the ballot. They have a history of being very innovative in health care funding as well as things like "the right to die" [or suspend]. You probably want to do it after "The First Immortal" comes out as a movie.