X-Message-Number: 1082
From: Kevin Q. Brown
Subject: Re: Just My Brain? 
Date: 30 Jul 1992

Newsgroups: sci.cryonics
Subject: Re: Just My Brain?
References: <>

> For you folks that are already members of a Cryonic Institute,
> have you arranged to have only your brain (i.e head) frozen,
> or your entire body?  Alcor charges roughly 3 times as much
> for whole body suspension and makes a case for regeneration
> of one's body from the preserved DNA.  Just curious to see if
> there is a consensus.

Neuro vs. whole-body is a matter of personal preference.  I have appended
below some text I wrote about the topic in 1988.  Since then the situation
may have changed somewhat.  For example, the new "big foot" dewars
can store not only several whole-body patients but also, in between them,
several neuros, too.  This may change the "mobility" argument in favor
of neurosuspension.
An issue I neglected to mention in 1988 is that the choice is also
technology-dependent.  Even if the technology favors neurosuspension
today (which some people dispute), as suspension techniques improve
and cause less injury, the favored technology may shift toward
whole body.  At that point it may become faster and more economical
to fix the original body than to build a new one from scratch.
                                      - Kevin Q. Brown
   An undisputed advantage of the neuro option (over whole body) is cost,
   both for suspension and for maintenance (liquid nitrogen required to
   remain frozen).  Another advantage is the quality of perfusion with
   cryoprotectants attained during suspension.  Each organ has its own
   optimal perfusion protocol and when the suspension can concentrate on
   the head only, the quality of perfusion of the brain does not have to
   be compromised to attain better perfusion of other parts of the body.
   Another important advantage of the neuro option is mobility.  Whole
   body suspendees are stored in large, bulky containers that are hard to
   transport whereas the neuro suspendees are stored in a concrete vault
   on wheels that can be quickly hauled away in case of fire or other
   emergency.  (Also, if necessary, they can be removed from the large
   vault and transported in smaller units that fit into a van.)
   An obvious disadvantage of the neuro option is bad PR; it sounds
   gruesome.  Also, one would think that revival (as a whole,
   functioning, healthy human being) when only your head was preserved
   would be more difficult than if your entire body was preserved.
   However, the whole body situation may not be that much better.  Mike
   Darwin of Alcor noticed several years ago, when examing two suspended
   people being transferred from another organization to Alcor, that
   every organ of their bodies suffers cracking from thermal stress
   during freezing.  In particular, the spinal cords suffered several
   fractures.  Thus, the whole bodies were not quite as "whole" as most
   people assumed.  Another reason that a whole body may not offer much
   more than the head alone is that the technology required to revive
   people from (whole or neuro) cryonic suspension should also be able to
   clone bodies, which is much simpler than fixing damaged cells.  One
   possible objection to this approach of recloning a body to attach to
   the head was voiced by Paul Segal of ACS (in the April 1988 issue of
   The Immortalist).  He suggested that adult cells in the head may be
   missing some of the DNA needed to reclone the remainder of the body.
   Even if this objection is valid, it is easy to circumvent by storing
   samples of all the major organs with the preserved head (which is
   standard practice at Alcor).

   See the booklet "Neuropreservation: Advantages and Disadvantages"
   published by Alcor for a more thorough discussion.

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