X-Message-Number: 2611
From:  (Thomas Donaldson)
Subject: SCI.CRYONICS Re: Problem with Cryonics
Date: Tue, 15 Feb 1994 21:58:11 -0800 (PST)


I want to first reiterate the comments of the two cryonicists Freeman and 
Smyth about the question of skin preservation. The major problem with 
these patients had nothing to do with skin; there were large cracks
running through their body. Apparently similar large cracks develop in the
brain. I was personally present at the autopsy of the BODY of one such 
patient, a woman who had died of liver cancer and whose head was removed
by Jerry Leaf and Mike Darwin for storage. This examination of the body was
one of the very few occasions in which we got to see what our techniques  ---
or at least the closely related techniques of another society, did to any
human organs.

I believe that the results of using some of the older suspension solutions
on animals have also been looked at with special reference to their brains.
Large cracks existed in their brains, too. I personally don't feel that LARGE
cracks are much of a problem at all: our anatomy has enough in common that
we can easily figure out how to put brains back together on that scale.

The real problem, as Freeman mentioned, is working out how to put together
brains on a smaller scale. Regardless of the tools we use (which must allow
us to manipulate many cells individually at the same time) we will also need
a great deal more understanding of the microscopic (nanoscopic?) operation
of nerve cells in terms of memory than we now have. The notion of operating
on many cells at the same time should NOT be thought of as a far-out,
future development at all. There is work going on right now to modify 
the immune cells of patients, inject them back into the patient, and let
them multiply as a treatment for diseases, inborn or acquired. Use of viruses
is not just for genetic engineering of new creatures: it is right now being
tried experimentally to fix the genetics of people suffering from cystic
fibrosis --- cell by cell. I will say, though, that repair of freezing 
injury will definitely require much more advanced tools.

Drexler's book suffers too much from a concentration on only one kind of
nanotechnology to the exclusion of others. In terms of understanding how
our understanding is growing on many fronts at once, I'd suggest that you 
try reading NATURE and SCIENCE for a year or two. GREAT MAMBO CHICKEN,
though it certainly MENTIONS cryonicists, is very far from an accurate and
careful exposition of either cryonics ideas or the accomplishments of
cryonicists. To be concerned about damage to skin, when considered in the
light of what we know we must accomplish to bring anyone back, looks quite
quite ridiculous. To mention it at all does not reflect well on the under-
standing of the author of GREAT MAMBO CHICKEN.... or perhaps what he thinks
of his audience. 
		Long long life,
			Thomas Donaldson

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