My infatuation with the talented singer Nick Jonas has grown recently after viewing his incredible performance on the American Music Awards. While joyfully listening to his station on Pandora, the song “Year 3000” came on and gave me an incredibly interesting blog post idea.The lyrics reference having the opportunity to meet your descendants long after your death. Mortality is embedded in the definition of a human being. People have been attempting to fight this mortal aspect of their existence since the beginning of time. Many researchers and scientists feel as though we may be on the tract to resurrecting people from the dead- thus completely and utterly transforming life as we know it.
The Alcor Website defines Cryonics as “an effort to save lives by using temperatures so cold that a person beyond help by today’s medicine might be preserved for decades or centuries until a future medical technology can restore that person to full health”.ABC News did a story on Cryonic’s technology for life institute which was opened in 1976 by scientist Robert Ettinger. Since then, nearly 200 people have been frozen in this institute with the hope of someday being revived. Each body costs $28,000 to freeze and store until it can be thawed. One argument against cryonics adressed by Dr. Kenneth Goodman is that, “If you have enough money (for cryonics), then you have enough money to help somebody in need today.” New generations enter the world and old ones leave it- depressing but valid. Some people believe that the cost is too outrageous to even attempt researching resurrection. Many critics can not wrap their brains around the phenomenon and feel that, “b;elieving cryonics could reanimate somebody who has been frozen is like believing you can turn hamburger back into a cow.” The Alcor Life Extension Foundation refutes this point with scientific evidence that “structural preservation of brain tissue in the presence of high concentrations of cryoprotectant is excellent”. Life can be stopped and restarted if the cell structure is preserved sufficiently well as seen with human embryos or people that are revived after experiencing serious trauma. Adding high concentrations of chemicals called cryoprotectants to cells permits tissue to be cooled to very low temperatures with little or no ice formation, thus safely preserving organs. Extensive research is being done with nanotechnology on regeneration and tissue repair, thus providing the potential to fix revived subject’s injuries. Another major argument people have against cryonics is that we are making a large assumption that future generations will want to carry on the attempt to put research and money into reviving frozen subjects.
On September 12, 2015, The New York Times published an article on a 23 year old women named Kim Suozzi diagnosed with terminal cancer who made the decision to have her brain frozen in the hopes of a second chance at life later on. Here is a touching video describing her first hand experience with cryogenics.
Here is a list of people that have chosen to by cryonically preserved and their stories.
In conclusion, the entire question of cryonics is extremely controversial and both sides have passionate defenders of their theories. There is still an immense amount of research to be done before any major gains are made. It can be seen as an experiment, the controls being the general population and the experimental group being the brave few who dare to attempt breaking the bounds fo mortality.