X-Message-Number: 12626
Date: Sun, 24 Oct 1999 09:16:54 EDT
Subject: Mike Darwin - thanks, and more

Mike, thanks a lot-your answers were great and detailed.

If, as you said we can probably achieve at least partial restoration of 
vitrified kidney, I think we should rush ahead and perform a demonstration. 
Even with success rate of 10% we could then claim that the problem has been 
solved in principle. Even 1 dog out of 10 will end stupid "Hamburger to cow" 
talk forever- basta!

If I understand it correctly, Mike, you still think that reversible brain 
cryopreservation is possible in principle, in light of such works as Dodt's? 

I advocate conservative approach. Since understanding of brain biology is far 
from complete, claims that the brain can be reproduced/downloaded on any 
artificial device and that current cryopreservation  methods are largely 
adequate  for this matter should be avoided.

I would also appeal to nano people to stop generating even more elaborate 
theories on repair of cryosuspended brain in light of Dodt work. No doubt, 
such scenarios can be created, but cannot be verified. Lets assume we can 
primarily use biological means of repair (which still leaves open a very 
large area of possibilities, getting larger all the time). 

Lets also assume that we will accept that cryopreservation is achieved even 
when we get it with low success rate, just like currently with cornea. At 
least we will know that it is possible in principle, not just theoretically. 
% can be improved later.

>It is a general rule of thumb in any complex research project without
>unlimited funding, that "things always take twice as long as initially
>projected (and cost twice as much).   Even if a program of successful
>reversible brain cryopreservation with demonstrated retention of memory and
>identity were to be put a one-decade time-line, this would mean that people
>60 years old now would be approaching their mean life expectancy. If
>inevitable program delays are factored in, and such a timeline is doubled,
>then a man of 60 will be 80 years old before the technology is even
>demonstrated, let alone adequately deployed. Fifty years is a more
>realistic timetable for the brain with no focused effort.
Bravo! I think that the speed of progress is tremendously overhyped. At 
least, we're not seeing very rapid progress in medicine and certainly not in 
genetic engineering. It may really take 50 years, or even longer-witness 
thermonuclear synthesis program, where countless billions of dollars were 
spend by very respectable institutions worldwide over decades with a promise 
of achievement "in 10 years".

If we want to really move ahead, means must exist for interested and not very 
wealthy individuals to finance research specifically for brain 
cryopreservation. Even if 21CM will trade its shares, the bulk of its 
applications are NOT brain-related, so this is still NOT a way to finance. 
Then, what is?

Summarizing, I must admit there's currently NO reasons for optimism that 
reversible brain cryopreservation will be even demonstrated in the next 10-20 
years, if at all. Apparently there's not enough business people interested in 
solving this problem and false feeling of security among cryonicists caused 
by nanotech guys. Sad conclusion, indeed. 

Alex Berg

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