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Date: 14 Aug 90 02:34:59 EDT
To: KEVIN <>
Subject: Alcor updates and neuro
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     A couple of important upcoming dates:

August 23:  The hearing on Alcor's suit against the California Depart-
ment of Health, concerning their continued refusal to acknowledge cryonics
as being legal and their refusal to give us the necessary forms to have
legal custody of the suspended individual.  These people have stated in
writing on two separate occasions that cryonics is legal and they are
merely trying to figure out how to properly handle the forms.  However,
in the past three "real-life" situations, they have informed local
authorities (who were inquiring about how to handle our patients) that
cryonics was illegal and that they should have nothing to do with us.

     Our attorneys are fairly confident that this should go our way.  The
individuals in the Bureau of Vital Statistics who are causing the problem
have no authority or legal right to declare cryonics illegal.  Even the 
California Attorney General's office has acknowledged that.  But a full
and public declaration of our legality will go a long way toward getting
cooperation from local authorities all over the state.

September 24:  This is the current date set for the hearing on Dr. Thomas
Donaldson's request for the right to enter cryonic suspension before his
legal death --at his option, if his brain tumor should begin growing again.
The outcome is much less certain, and any decision will no doubt be immed-
iately appealed to higher courts.

     Obviously, these two court cases have primary relevance to the success
of cryonics in California, and by extension, throughout the country.  We'll
try to pass along the decisions as we hear them.

News Articles:  Several newspapers around the country (including USA Today)
are expected to run articles on cryonics this week or next.  This includes
papers in New Jersey, Detroit, and California.  Please let this "Cryo-Net"
know if you see something significant, and please send a copy of the
article to Alcor.


     No one should feel self-conscious about having reservations concerning
neuropreservation in cryonics.  Practically every one of us had a negative
emotional reaction when we first heard of it.  Like you, we all saw films
about severed heads being kept alive, or being chopped off during the French
Revolution.  It is sometimes hard to get past those images and look at the
REALITY, which is much different.  

     Neuropreservation is merely a convenient way to save the personality
and memories of the individual.  We do not plan to bring people back to
consciousness as severed heads; and we do not think it is all likely that
we will trying to attach severed heads to donor bodies.  It won't be at all
necessary.  We will grow new copies of the individual's own body, just as 
we all grew our own bodies in the first place.  Most likely they will be
grown right from the cells in the base of the stored head.  (Although
people like Ralph Merkle have other possible scenarios in mind).  The
exact procedure is hard to predict for sure, since technological advance
rarely proceeds in a an orderly manner.

     When I discuss this with groups, I point out that children under the
age of 9 can already regrow the severed tip of a finger.  It is no great
prediction to suppose that advanced technologies will (fairly soon) give 
us the ability to regrow an entire missing finger.  Well, if you can
regrow a missing finger, in principle you can regrow a missing arm.  And
once you learn how to regrow missing limbs, then regrowing a missing
BODY should not seem much of a stretch.

     There are some important (theoretical) biological advantages to 
neuropreservation that may not be obvious at first.  Freezing tissue 
without damage is a complex process, and the body has many kinds of
tissue.  Each type takes a slightly different protocol to freeze and
store it most effectively.  So in freezing a whole body, either some
compromises must be made to make sure that the big toes are frozen just 
as well as the head, or all other parts of the body must be compromised 
in order to properly freeze the brain.  If you agree that the brain is
primarily where the individual resides, then you don't want to compromise
that organ.

     Also, an important tenet of cryonics theory is to get the brain down
to liquid nitrogen temperature as rapidly as possible.  With a whole
body, this takes at least three days.  But with a neuropatient, it only
takes a few hours.  Long term storage is better, also, since the cost is 
much, much lower for neuros (under $100 per year, compared with perhaps 
$1,000 per year for a whole body), and the ease of transfer to new con-
tainers as needed is significantly increased.

     The tradeoff is, of course, that there is a real chance (although
I personally believe it is small) that the information in the brain
will not be adequate to reconstruct the "new you."  It is also conceivable
that it will possible to repair every cell in a whole body sooner (or
cheaper) than it will be possible to grow an entirely new body.  My own
feeling is that turning on a natural process of growth will be available
to us sooner than the sophisticated machines necessary to do cell-by-cell
repair.  And let's be realistic -- most people die when they are elderly,
with aged, severly damaged bodies.  It might be easier to grow a new body
than to fix the old one.

     The counter-argument to THIS is that we will need machines at that
level of sophistication anyway to do the BRAIN repair necessary, so we
will have to wait that long for everyone.

     I'm willing to admit that I have hedged my bets.  I am currently 
signed up for neuropreservation with Alcor, because I believe that
the advantages are significant in terms of better perfusion and cooldown,
and I don't think that the eventual outcome depends on anything more 
than the brain.  However, I arranged from the beginning for an insurance
policy of $100,000, so I can change my mind if I get new evidence (as 
long as the increase in Alcor's minimums don't increase faster than the 
value of the policy).  I only pay $60 per month for that policy, an
insignificant difference from the premiums for a $50,000 policy.

     Officially, Alcor doesn't care which choice you make, as long as 
you provide the proper amount of minimum funding.  Unofficially, most
of us also feel the same way.  There are potential advantages to both
procedures, so you choose whatever you think is correct.

     One other possible approach that some members have asked about
(although I don't know if anyone has actually arranged for this) is for
the primary focus to be on neuropreservation to take advantage of those
benefits, but to ALSO preserve the body as a back-up, perhaps in a 
separate container.  I assume Alcor would charge the whole-body rate
for this; but there could be an additional cost for the added trouble,
I suppose.

     I hope this answers some of the basic questions on neuropreservation;
but I still encourage interested persons to contact Alcor and request
the reprints suggested by Michael O'Neal in Msg #209.

Steve Bridge

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