X-Message-Number: 2453
From: whscad1!kqb (Kevin Q Brown +1 201 386 7344)
Subject: CRYONICS Noggin and Neuropreservation

Page 279 of the Oct. 30, 1993 issue of Science News has an
article titled "Embryo's nerve-inducing messenger found."
Richard M. Harland, of the University of California, Berkeley,
named this amphibian protein "noggin" because without it "you can
make an animal that will make no head."  Conversely, if the embryo
has too much "noggin," it will develop too much neural tissue.
What does this have to do with cryonics?  That will require some
preliminary explanation.

Neuropreservation is a form of cryonic suspension in which only the
patient's head or brain is preserved.  It clearly is less expensive
than whole-body cryonic suspension.  Being more compact, the patient
(normally) is more portable, too, enabling faster escape from disaster.
Furthermore, neuropatients arguably can get better perfused brains than
whole-body patients, since the perfusion protocol can focus only on
their brains rather than all their other organs, too.  The most obvious
disadvantage of neuropreservation, however, is the lack of a body.

At first glance, lacking a body sounds like a fatal flaw in the plan.
It may not be as great a disadvantage as first appears, though,
because whole body patients may not be much better off.  Both aging
and today's cryonic suspension techniques cause so much injury to
one's body that cloning a new body from scratch may be easier than
fixing the old one.  But attaching the patient's head to the new body
(after full restoration from aging and cryonic suspension, of course)
poses an ethical and moral problem.  What do you do with the head
of the newly cloned body?  Won't the clone mind losing his/her head?
That is where "noggin" comes in handy, or, rather, the lack of it.

By judiciously restricting the presence of "noggin" (and other
neural-tissue-related growth factors) during development of the
clone, one should be able to grow an anencephalic (i.e. no brain)
clone.  If the clone has no brain, you don't have to worry about
what happens to the clone's noggin when bringing the neuro patient
back from suspension.  At least, the clone certainly won't mind.

                              Kevin Q. Brown

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