X-Message-Number: 16335
Date: Fri, 25 May 2001 10:37:28 -0400
From: Thomas Donaldson <>
Subject: CryoNet #16321 - #16333

Hi everyone!

A few comments:

1. The basic idea that our brains work chemically to store memories
   but use electrical methods to process them and recall them
   goes back to the 1950's. Believe it or not, a cryobiology experiment
   gave the crucial information: our memories survive even if we are
   cooled down enough to show no obvious signs of life (below 0 was
   then clearly too low, but it doesn't take going that low to show
   no obvious signs of life).

   All the subsequent work basically explicated how this happens. Yes,
   we're getting a much better handle on the phenomenon, but it has
   been known since before some people on Cryonet were even born.

2. NO ONE has a good idea of the details by which our memories are
   stored. By "good" I mean fully detailed, with experiments supporting
   the details. For a long time many neuroscientists thought that 
   our memories consisted of the connectivity of our brain due to
   synapses between neurons; discovery that synapses move and change
   constantly, at least in our hippocampus (we still need more 
   experiments!!) plus the formation of new neurons raises issues
   about this basic theory. 

   In about 10 years we may see some interesting changes in our 
   understanding of how memory works. No, I too have no idea just
   what they will be. But particularly for cryonics they should be
   very interesting indeed.

3. Yes, the neuroscience involved in storage of long term memories
   does deal with an issue critical to cryonics. And it deals much
   more with CRYONICS than with the "simple" issue of suspended 
   animation, which assumes that the patient is in good shape befoe
   they have been vitrified. We may someday have suspended animation,
   but for CRYONICS we need more than that: means to suspend not
   only those in good condition, but means to suspend those not so
   fortunate, with hope that we can someday repair them even if
   we cannot do so now. Such an ability is central to CRYONICS.

   Yes, means for suspended animation would help us a lot. But they
   should not be identified with cryonics itself.

My comments here about the state of neuroscience do need references.
Anyone who wants them can contact me.

		Best wishes and long long life for all,

			Thomas Donaldson

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