X-Message-Number: 21520
Date: Mon, 31 Mar 2003 20:57:56 EST
Subject: sources

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Early this year I wrote (erroneously) that rabbit kidney vitrification 
researchers had advanced to the point of 50% viability on autoreimplant after 
vitrification and rewarming--very encouraging, although not yet good enough 
for transplant work.  Platt complained, characterizing this as pejorative!  

A couple of days ago, to clear things up a bit for some who had inquired, I 
wrote in part:

>> this was not the case, and in fact (as of early this year), as I was told,
> >there have been no successes in vitrifying rabbit kidneys.

>> What they have done is load and unload kidneys with a "vitrifiable
>> concentration" of perfusate, with 100% survival. In other words, zero
>> toxicity--but not vitrification, and not at temperatures even as low as 
>> of dry ice.

Now Platt writes:

>From whom did you learn this? On what date? This kind of statement is not
>very persuasive if you don't name a source. Moreover, since you are making
>statements that tend to denigrate the work of the scientists involved, it
>would be advisable to verify the statements before posting them.

Again, he says I am "denigrating" the work of the researchers and implies my 
statements are suspect, and demands the source.

Strange! As one of the head honchos of Alcor (the number two man now, 
apparently), with presumably close ties to the researchers, he ought to KNOW 
what the facts are. In any case, I have authoritative letters on file, and 
while confidentiality was not stipulated, it is obvious that public copying 
was not desired in the context of a Cryonet squabble. Aside from that, the 
information is NOT private or confidential, but was publicly disclosed at an 
Alcor meeting last fall, although it missed my notice at the time and 
apparently Platt's too.

Once more, for the benefit of relative newcomers, there are distinctions to 
be kept in mind which are not especially difficult, yet easy to blur for 
those in search of quick and simple answers:

Vitrification is not hard to achieve, with many different kinds of solutions, 
if that is all you want, and it has been done many times with various 
biological specimens. The problem is to achieve viability after rewarming, 
and there are several serious obstacles, not yet overcome, which I won't 
repeat here. 

Alcor's current neuro procedure is one which they believe, on the basis of 
indirect evidence, probably usually results in vitrification of most of the 
brain, and may result in much reduced ice damage. Nothing wrong there--they 
are making a good faith judgment. But what is not made clear to most readers 
is that the results of applying the current Alcor neuro procedure to a whole 
animal brain, and rewarming after vitrification, have never been evaluated. 
Even the relatively tiny and simple rabbit kidney, after many years of 
effort, has not yet met success. 

Do we claim CI's procedure is better? No, because we don't know. But we do 
publish the results of our procedures, with independent evaluations as well 
as our own. 

We have also published results of Dr. Pichugin's work several years ago with 
rabbit brain pieces, frozen with glycerol and then rewarmed, showing 
coordinated electrical activity in networks of neurons. Is this as important 
as reduction of ice? Maybe it's more important, since the electrical activity 
of networks of neurons may be the most important activity of the brain. (Yes, 
this is an over-simplification too, since "electrical activity" covers too 
much territory.)

What we know for sure is that nobody yet has reached the brass ring, and the 
work goes on. (CI is the only cryonics organization with a professional 
research program.) It isn't even very important who gets there first, except 
for momentary satisfaction. But it would be honest and helpful to refrain 
from implying exaggerated claims. 

What we also know for sure is that those who procrastinate too much, like the 
ass between the haystacks, is likely to lose everything.

Robert Ettinger
Cryonics Institute
Immortalist Society


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