X-Message-Number: 10355
Date: Sun, 30 Aug 1998 14:47:18 -0700
From: Paul Wakfer <>
Subject: Re: CryoNet #10344 Suspension Damage
References: <>

> Message #10344
> Date: Sat, 29 Aug 1998 07:05:15 -0400
> From: Thomas Donaldson <>
> Subject: CryoNet #10334 - #10342

Before I respond to Thomas here, I wish to make it clear that I am not
saying people do not have any chance to be recovered and should not be
cryopreserved. There *may* be a chance and because of that I would elect
to get cryopreserved tomorrow rather than the alternatives, and I
strongly encourage *everyone* who loves life to do the same. My argument
is with this "near certainty" nonsense which the true believers in
cryonics continually insist that we must accept or we are not "loyal"
cryonicists and are, in some fashion, harming cryonics. Worse than that
however, is that so many cryonicists, even if they do not "believe" it,
still take is as an excuse for not needing to bother themselves about
funding the research necessary to demonstrate, as soon as possible, that
cryonics can work.  

> To Paul Wakfer:
> You make statements to the effect that the molecules in our brain are
> broken down to smaller ones. Given the effect of freezing, this seems
> unlikely to an extreme. Your statement DOES, however, describe what
> happens if freezing is delayed for long enough. As I understand the
> process of decay, even at room temperature this requires at least 12
> hours. As you know, cryonicists attempt to get people much sooner than
> that. Granted, sometimes they do not succeed, but they do try hard.

A terminal condition and declaration of legal death implies that
homeostasis (the active and continual action of the cells to maintain
themselves, and the tissues and individual organism of which they are
part against the natural increase of local entropy) has been lost. With
this loss of homeostasis, the general uniformization (loss of order,
reduction to lowest energy states, diffusion of solutes to
equiconcentration throughout, etc.) of first intra-, and later
extra-cellular components begins. This "decay" takes place
nonuniformly within the cell, between cells and across tissue types.

At the moment, it appears from dog experiments that such decay is fully
reversible after 17 minutues of normothermic ischemia and after 5 1/2
hours of asanguinous hypothermic perfusion. Other evidence of the
resilience of the human body and brain has come from various hypothermic
operations and cold water drowning accidents. Beyond these demonstrated
limits, no one has ever been recovered and therefore, although much can
be speculated, nothing is *known*. For example, we do not *know* that
dogs or humans can be recovered from, say, 30 minutes of normothermic
iscehemia or 8 hours of asanguinous hypothermic perfusion. There may be
some barrier beyond which the decay is too great. This barrier may be
different for body and brain. It may be a barrier that, with research
and continued effort we can overcome and push back further. However, we
KNOW that there is a barrier somewhere beyond which we cannot recover a
person. For example, I don't think that even the most optimistic
nanotechnologist would argue that at any time in the future we will be
able to recover someone who has collapsed in his isolated cabin and
remained there undiscovered at room temperature for a month. Somewhere
between the extremes of a month of decay at room temperature and the
currently known recovery conditions, is a barrier which is impassible
because of loss of information.

However, this time barrier (unknown but clearly existing) is not what is
pertinent for cryonics. First, we cool the patient as quickly as
possible which slows all the uniformizing processes and should extend
the time to the non-recovery barrier. Second, we inject and distribute
by causing perfusion chemical which (if our theories are correct - and
they are partly proven be our dog experiments) should additionally delay
some of the harmful decay processes. Third, however, we perfuse
cryopretectants which definitely cause chemical harm and from which no
animal has yet been recovered even by washing them out, rewarming, and
replacing blood without any freezing at all. For all we *know* at this
point in time, all our suspended patients may have had their memories
made unrecoverable by perfusion with cryoprotectant even before they
were frozen. If you say: "Paul this is crazy! There is no evidence that
such loss happens and from what we know about memory, it is highly
unlikely", then all that I need to answer is: "I'm from Missouri. Show

Furthermore, The freezing process itself is both good and bad. It is
good because it further slows uniformization and decay of the patient's
tissues, and, when the temperature has been reduced below the lowest
glass transition point of any component of the body, finally brings such
processes to a virtual standstill. However, the freezing process is not
simply a gradual reduction of the temperature of each tissue component
while that component remains juxtaposed to its neighbors in precisely
the same manner during the whole temperature descent or even simply
continues its previous mode of decay at a slower and slower rate.
Instead, the freezing process is extremely dynamical and causes gross
movement of tissue components far different than were occuring during
the normal decay from loss of homeostasis and from perfusion with

> The major disarray that freezing causes is at a level higher than that
> of most cells.

I believe that this is quite understating the damage which occurs.
Micrographs clearly show that there is major damage at all levels both
inter and intracellularly, not everywhere to be sure, but still highly
significant with currently indeterminable effects on the recoverability
of memory and other mental attributes.

> Neurons, with dendrites and axons extending for long
> distances, will certainly have their connections disrupted. That disruption
> will necessarily involve disruption of the nerve cell membranes. It is
> hardly trivial, and given that the connectivity of our nerve cells may be
> the way in which our memories express themselves it is certainly a
> serious disruption.

Here you appear to be ignoring possible damage which is done by the
cryoprotectant during perfusion and the damage that is done by chemical
processes by the toxic fluid residues generated by the water freezing
into pure ice before they too eventually solidify.

> We may still be able to infer former connectivity
> from what remains, however (note the word "may"). If you subscribed to
> PERIASTRON you would know some of the possible ways we might do this.

I am quite aware of such possibilities. If connectivity were the only
problem, I would be much more confident about success of recover,
although I would still demand the confidence generated by a fully
reversible proceedure under the optimal conditions, especially since
accomplishing this with modifications of current technology is highly
likely and can even be achieved at a very modest cost compared with most
other life extending research.

-- Paul --

 Voice/Fax: 909-481-9620 Page: 800-805-2870
The Institute for Neural Cryobiology - http://neurocryo.org
Perfected cryopreservation of Central Nervous System tissue
for neuroscience research and medical repair of brain diseases

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