X-Message-Number: 10688
Date: Tue, 3 Nov 1998 07:24:43 -0500
From: Thomas Donaldson <>
Subject: CryoNet #10676 - #10687

Hi everyone!

First, I promised Brian Delaney that I would give him the reference to
mouse lifespans the next time I got on Cryonet. So:

JB Storer, "Longevity and gross pathology at death of 22 inbred mouse
strains", J GERONTOLOGY 21(1966) 404-409.

This reference is only partially helpful, mainly because of the fact that
since it was written our ability to produce special strains of mice 
has exploded. The ability to do this comes directly from our ability
to modify/implant new genes and replace other genes. There are also some
strains which Storer does not discuss (probably because they did not
exist when he wrote his article) even though they seem to have been 
created by "normal" methods.

Transferring human genes to mice is a nice way to study some human
conditions: we get a strain of mice which develop similar diseases to
those of humans, at least in a restricted way. (They better watch out
here --- if they don't they might discover the mice making their own
little machines and plotting how to overthrow those terrible humans ;-)

Basically, except for a few experiments with antioxidants, the worst
lifespans shown by any strain of mouse used in any aging experiment I
know of were about average for all the different strains. C57BL/6J 
mice have been often used as "long lived" mice, but they are not the
longest lived strain Storer discusses. This honor goes to a strain 
called LP/J mice, which for males lives twice as long as the shortest
lived strain, and for females 3X longer. None of the strains I've
seen used for aging experiments suffers from any particular characteristic
disease, either --- though some of the shortest lived strains, for 
instance, have a strong tendency to die early of leukemia.

To Marty Kardon: I must admit that for a substantial number of cryonicists
there is a distinct whiff of religion about their attitude to cryonics.
I personally think it comes with a very similar attitude to nanotechnology,
in which at some (relatively) near future time we'll work out how to 
solve all our construction and medical problems using intelligent molecule
sized robots.

But I do not agree that such attitudes are universal. The major difference
between those who accept cryonics as a strategy to prolong their own
lives and those who accept it (to be perhaps impolite) as religion comes
from attitudes to research. Some of us want very much to find out how
to improve the process, how to make sure that we will be (as individuals)
suspended in the best condition possible, and how to organize the societies
so that they will continue to care for us while we are suspended. In 
short, we think that as much as we are able, it's OUR responsibility 
to increase the probability that our suspension will be successful.

As for the future into which we might revive, I personally have always
thought that it will have its own problems. We will never obtain 
ASSURED immortality, any more than we will be come (collectively or
individually) all powerful. And even considering what we know of the
Universe now, we have a long long way (and a long long time) to go
before we even obtain any significant power over the Universe we
live in. This is not to bring in all the problems we cannot list
because we cannot imagine them --- likely to be a large number at
any given time, though changing as time passes. Cavemen did not have
the problem of possible shocks due to malfunctioning electronics,
nor the problem of too much CO2 in the atmosphere.

Actually, I think that a need for cryonics (in some form) won't ever
disappear, either. Not only won't we be all-powerful, but we'll keep
getting medical problems we had not imagined or encountered before.
Yes, they WILL occur more and more rarely, but then our expectations
will also rise, so that we'll continue to be concerned by such 
possibilities. Nor will we (at any given time) know how to cure 
all such conditions.

			Best and long long life to all,

				Thomas Donaldson

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