X-Message-Number: 10368
Date: Wed, 2 Sep 1998 16:52:13 EDT
Subject: freezer vs. blender

Charles Platt (Cryonet # 10366) wrote:

[Ettinger wrote] >> many studies showing a considerable degree of survival by
several criteria,
>> morphological and physiological, after cooling to liquid nitrogen

[Platt]>What is a "considerable degree of survival"? Which studies are you
>referring to? How can we possibly take such a vague statement seriously? 
[Ettinger] You could take this "vague" statement seriously if you were
familiar with the literature, since you would already know it. Some examples
(authors and publications given, paper titles omitted for brevity):

Haan and Bowen (J. Neurochem. 37, 243-246, 1981) cooled human and rat brain
sections to liquid nitrogen temperature (10% DMSO) and found norepinephrine
uptake 94%-95% that of controls. Glucose derived carbon into acetylcholine was
85%-100% of controls. Glucose-derived carbon into CO2 was 86%-100% of
controls. Since the tissue prisms were mostly synapses, this implies that the
synapses of both rats and humans survived liquid nitrogen.

Haberland et al (Cryo-Letters 6, 319-328, 1985) isolated synaptosomes from
elderly humans who had been dead 10-20 hours, and not refrigerated until 3-5
hours after death. They were treated with DMSO up to 10% and eventually
immersed in liquid nitrogen. Dopamine uptake was about 98% that of unfrozen

Morrison and Griffin (Annal. Biochem. 113, 318-324, 1981) found that, for
human brains, post-mortem storage for 4 and 16 hours at room temperature had
little effect on the spectrum of isolated mRNAs, and that the profile of
proteins synthesized was not changed when the tissues were stored in liquid

In a more general way, in his sworn declaration Feb. 1, 1988, Superior Court
of Riverside, California, Gregory Fahy said:

"A reasonable way of summarizing the world literature on the subject at
present is to say that whenever either brain structure or brain function has
been evaluated after freezing to low temperatures and thawing, robust
preservation has almost always been demonstrable provided that some attention
was paid to providing at least token cryoprotection, and in some cases good
preservation has been documented in the complete absence of reasonable
cryobiological technique. The implication of these findings is that structures
and functions not examined to date will also respond in a favorable way to
freezing and thawing." 

There are many more, but the above are the ones I have handy.

[Ettinger]>> and rewarming. Pichugin's rabbit brain pieces showed coordinated
>> activity in networks of neurons. There are no such indications for
> >and no reason to expect any. 

[Platt]>Sure, and Suda's cat brains exhibited spontaneous electrical
>after rewarming--but only for a brief period, because they suffered
>massive damage. They weren't even frozen in liquid nitrogen; merely to dry
>ice temperature. And their cryoprotectant was administered under optimal
>conditions, using good equipment and technique, which is more than I can
>say for many cryonics cases, which (I have to assume) must have suffered
>much more. 

[Ettinger] Platt ignores the Pichugin result, and drags in Suda as a straw
man; I did not mention Suda, and Suda's work was not comparable to Pichugin's,
since Pichugin's was at liquid nitrogen temperature. Further, to increase his
angular momentum, Platt drags in "worst case" cryonics, which is not the
issue. Rowe's one-liner was not addressed to worst-case cryonics, but to ANY
cryonics. Rowe did not qualify his "hamburger" line to refer to any specific
type or condition of freezing. The CLEAR thrust of Rowe's line is that
freezing damage generally is at least as bad as grinding damage, and this is
CLEARLY not true. 

[Platt] >Using the kind of cryoprotection in typical cryonics cases at the
time when Rowe made his remark, the results should alarm anyone who is willing
to look. Structure is scrambled, and ice does indeed grind up tissue, much as
knives grind up meat. 

[Ettinger] No, the amount of random change in freezing is nowhere near the
amount of random change in grinding. Freezing involves very little turbulent
flow--see e.g. Merkle's work. Both trauma and mixing are much greater, in
general, for grinding than for freezing. NO AMOUNT of squirming or spinning
will change the FACT that many organisms, and other biological specimens, have
survived freezing, while none has survived grinding (other than isolated cells
if the grinding is coarse enough).

[Platt] >It is impossible for you to be certain of Rowe's motives or beliefs,
and I suggest it is inappropriate to present your highly partisan assumptions
as if they are proven facts, Also, calling a scientist a liar is potentially
actionable, even on Usenet.

[Ettinger] "Assumptions"? I have cited facts which anyone can verify, at least
many of which were certainly known to Rowe. 

As for my remarks being actionable, I would heartily welcome a libel suit, and
I would counter-sue. I have tried for many years to entice adverse
cryobiologists into full and open debate; they refuse to accept a Science
Court, so a court of law would be next best. Hey, Rowe--your pants are on

[Platt] >The most that Rowe can be accused of is--perhaps--using some degree
>hyperbole to communicate a concept to the general public. However, I
>believe the essence of his statement was correct, at the time he made it.

[Ettinger] The "essence" of his remark, once more, was that freezing damage is
comparable to grinding damage. That is flatly a lie. (It is equivalent to
saying that, from the standpoint of immediate damage, you would be no worse
off after being put through a blender than after being frozen.) 

"at the time he made it."? He has repeated it frequently, and I think the last
time was within the last couple of years.

[Platt] >The cryonics community was outraged, but they were still in a state
>blissful ignorance, since they had not seen the first electron microscope
>slides that Fahy made in the 1980s, revealing the degree of damage caused
>by then-current cryoprotectant protocol. 

[Ettinger] "blissful ignorance"? That is a gross insult to the entire cryonics
community of the time. Platt implies that we were all blindly and foolishly
optimistic. But in fact no one that I can recall, at any time, has assumed or
said or implied that there is not a great deal of damage done by any currently
available freezing methods, as applied to human brains. Neither has any
detractor credibly denied that a great deal of structure and even function IS
preserved, or that future technology might restore all of it. Cautiously
(sometimes not so cautiously) optimistic statements have been made, as Platt
well knows, by Fahy, Drexler, and Merkle, among others.

Any reader who wants to check for himself the details and range of the
evidence is invited to begin by visiting the CI web site. 

Robert Ettinger
Cryonics Institute
Immortalist Society

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