Re: Suspended Animation

Paul Wakfer (70023.3041@CompuServe.COM)
01 Dec 96 04:37:37 EST

On Sun, 01 Dec 1996 00:07:56, Michael Lorrey <> wrote:
>>Neither the "burning" of glucose or anything else takes
>>place at the same rate during hypothermia. Eg. the heart rate does
>>naturally slow down and eventually stops altogether at about 16'C.
>Yeah but what about the adrenal, insulin, thyroid and other hormonal
>governors on the metabolism? If you could use drugs to regulate the
>levels of such regulators, you could do a controlled metabolic rate
>reduction at the same time you drop their temperature down to 40 deg F
>or so.

The body's physiology is much too complicated there are 1000's of
independent hormones, enzymes, etc. which you would have to control. The
only way you can approximate this at present is by hypothermia wherein you
both cool and replace the blood (it gets too viscous and self-coagulating
below about 20'C) with an electrolyte solution (no need for the hemoglobin
since at that temperature, the dissolved oxygen in sufficient to run the
slowed metabolic processes). 21st Century Medicine has recovered dogs
without permanent deficits from 5.3 hours below 40'F with this technique.
But it requires continuous perfusion and has not (yet) been time extended
for whole-bodies (ie. for multiple organ types). Their goal for this work
is to perfect flush-cool-ship-on-ice of humans where no damage would be
done for up to 10 hours (sufficient time for some pretty long range
shipping). Any more than this without full long-term suspended animation
below the glass transition temperature is really hard to conceive being
possible this side of the singularity and, personally, I don't believe that
our nanotechnological/singularity dreams will come through for at least 50
and more likely 100.

> I've seen the effects of the body's natural hypothermic "dive"
>response as being a big saver in cases of people falling into lakes and

I am *not* trained in medicine nor biology for that matter. I was a
professor of Mathematics and Physics. However, it is my understanding that
in all the cases of cold water drowning, or outdoors cooling and revival,
the core temperature of the individual has never been below 20'C. If is
does then they are not recoverable with today's medicine.

>I guess I just see use of such blunt raw force approaches as being not
>as "unreliable" or easy on the patient. I mean what is the quality of
>life going to be for someone who has to grow back 75% of their body (or
>the whole thing for those who just have their head frozen)? WHile it may
>be cheaper to freeze someone at the start, what are the costs going to
>be at the other end to revive the person, and then rebuild them?

Aha! You are confusing suspended animation with cryonics as currently
practiced. The whole purpose of the Prometheus Project is for the process
to be fully reversible here and now, with today's medicine (at least the
"today" at the end of the Project). Since no "rebuilding" will need to take
place (except curing their terminal condition -- which might have been
aging itself), the cost will not be that great. In any case the whole
economics is a matter of how much money they can put away, what its growth
rate is and what the cost of reviving the fixing them has been reduced to.
I agree that it is conceivable that some people preserved either by
cryonics or true suspended animation may only ever be restored by the
charity of some others (or maybe their curiosity or their loyalty to
friends and relatives?). Anyway, even for cryonics your argument is mixed
up. All cryonics patients will have all damage (even the regrowth of a body
from a repaired brain) repaired *before* they are even brought to
consciousness. Ie. the restoration time and process will be exactly the
same to them as the time frozen in liquid nitrogen. Unless/until they can
emerge with a young, healthy fully functional body they won't be revived.

>I would think that it should be developed for
>people waiting for organ transplants, or waiting for FDA approval of
>certain possible cures. I would guess that this sort of therapy could
>become a widely used strategy for the hundreds of thousands of people
>worldwide who are waiting for organs....

Again, yes, it would be wonderful to have such a process, but reality is
not always to obliging. I believe that the biomed research community would
simply say that is appears to be a very difficult problem and there are
many other clearly more easily solvable problems with higher priority. BTW,
that's close to what they say about the Prometheus Project. My job is to
find enough people for which suspended animation is a high enough priority.
I do this because from my examination of the timescales of the advance of
science and technology, I believe that the success of the Prometheus
Project (or something like it) is the only way that I (and all of you too)
will have a reasonable chance to gain a vastly extended life and potential

>I guess I just look at the freezing concept as being really a one way
>trip, like I really don't have any faith in John Clarks flash uploading
>ideas either. I prefer gradual uploading and soft, failsafe hybernation

It ain't soft and failsafe if it doesn't exist! If you or some one else
produces them, I will gladly embrace them. The Prometheus Project is based
on extending existing technology, not on fundamentally new scientific
discoveries for which there is no time estimation possible.

Actually, I would rather just stay alive and healthy and eventually have
non-invasive augmentation! But I am very much concerned that even if I live
to 120 (which from my, genetics, current health, and healthy lifestyle, I
fully expect to do), I will reach an end of what (then) current medicine
and life-extension techniques are able to do for me. The very last thing
that I want is go into suspended animation even if its fully proven to be
non-damaging to my body and brain/mind. But I would take a straight
freezing of just my brain anytime, rather than the total obliteration of

-- Paul -- Phone: 416-968-6291 Pager: 800-805-2870


Check out the Prometheus Project web site at URL: