X-Message-Number: 12179
Date: Fri, 23 Jul 1999 18:44:18 EDT
Subject: brain only?

Doug Skrecky (#12174) writes, in part:

>  Working people usually have some small amount of life insurance provided
>"free" as part of their benefits package. Reducing the cost of a cryonics
>service below the amount of this insurance effectively reduces the
>upfront cost of cryonics to zero. 

Good point, although I'm not sure what the quantitative impact would be. 
After all, once again, large numbers of people can easily afford cryonics but 
don't choose it. Fred Pohl declined Alcor's offer of a free suspension, even 
though he had contributed a good bit to the dissemination of information 
about cryonics. Yes, there would probably be SOME impact.

 > Advantages of storing only the brain, as opposed to the entire head 
>include, no negative PR, 

I don't buy that. The family could, as I think Doug previously mentioned, 
have a "normal" funeral with a body (sans brain) in a casket in a funeral 
home, and could  keep the brain freezing confidential from family and 
friends, true. But--besides adding to the expense--that would sound, if 
anything, even worse than head-only freezing when discussed in the press.

>potentially greater cryoprotectant infusion/protection, 

I'm not sure about that either. If you don't perfuse until after removing the 
brain, then there will be more delay, as well as the difficulty of working 
with a delicate unsupported brain. 

>and lower storage costs. 

Lower storage cost, but greater preparation cost.

>The main negatives would be possible increased physical damage during 
Yes, excising the brain etc would be difficult and time consuming, adding to 
cost and risk. CI now does store sheep brains rather than the whole heads, 
while accumulating research specimens for later evaluation. This saves a lot 
on storage. But sheep brains are much smaller than human brains, both 
absolutely and as a fraction of the head size, which changes the equation 

>Dehydrating a brain during shipment in an concentrated  cryoprotectant bath 
would >effectively reduce storage costs by shrinking the brain volume. A 
further benefit
>here could be cheap vitrification, with potentially far superior 
preservation of cellular >structure during freezing.
Whether dehydration or/and vitrification should be done will be decided 
primarily on the basis of effectiveness in minimizing damage that may be 
difficult to reverse, not on the basis of storage cost.

Robert Ettinger
Cryonics Institute
Immortalist Society

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