X-Message-Number: 32611
Date: Fri, 11 Jun 2010 13:27:01 +0000 (UTC)
From: Melody Maxim <>
Subject: Silver Platters Ignored, in Cryonics

The television show, (recently mentioned on Cryonet), regarding a toddler who 
was revived after wandering off into the snow, doesn't reflect any great new 
knowledge. The little girl was clinically dead, with a core temperature of 16 
degrees Celsius, when she arrived at the hospital, where she was successfully 
rewarmed and resuscitated. Cardiovascular surgeons and neurosurgeons have been 
successfully using deep hypothermia (18-degrees Celsius, and below) combined 
with circulatory arrest (DHCA), for more than half a century. This technology 
was based on cases similar to the little girl's, and is the medical science on 
which cryonics should be based. 

The medical procedures and equipment needed, for delivering cryonics solutions 
to patients, (basically, the same equipment and techniques used to perform 
DHCA), were handed to cryonics organizations on a silver platter, decades ago, 
courtesy of conventional medicine. Why the organizations have wasted somewhere 
in the neighborhood of four decades, and many, many millions of dollars, 
building their own equipment, is truly perplexing. For example, a heart-lung 
machine will maintain given parameters (flows, pressures, etc.), for a number of
pumps; react to air by clamping lines and shutting off pumps; monitor in-line 
labs (such as blood gases); and automatically produce a detailed record (chart).
Other than minor variations, I believe the only truly unique additional feature
needed for a vitrification circuit would be something to accommodate the 
ramping of the vitrification solution. Even this has a basis in existing 
technology, as many heart-lung machines already allow for varying concentrations
of cardioplegia to be delivered, using the same bag of solution. This relies on
someone determining the concentration to be delivered, but it should be 
possible to develop a system, which would operate on concentration feedback and 
pre-determined parameters/delivery protocols. (IMPORTANT: When I suggest 
something should be "developed," I mean by companies, which specialize in 
developing this type of equipment, not by an amateur who just happens to be 
working in cryonics, or a friend of someone who is working in cryonics, who will
sit around writing programs on their laptop, for years, all the while charging 
excessive "consulting" fees. It is that type of foolishness, which has kept 
cryonics in the dark ages of hypothermic medicine.) 

Not long after I started working in cryonics, in 2006, I took a tour of the 
Alcor facility, during their conference. At the time, (not being familiar with 
the amount of time and money, which had already been invested), I thought I was 
witnessing a case of people not being aware of existing equipment, or not having
enough money to purchase existing "state of the art" perfusion equipment. The 
vitrification circuit didn't even begin to compare to perfusion circuits I had 
been using, more than a decade prior to that time. The field perfusion circuit 
had the oxygenator placed higher than the reservoir, (something almost 
guaranteed to introduce air to patients, a problem I've heard Alcor has been 
plagued with, over the years). The perfusion equipment is of paramount 
importance, to cryonics procedures. So, why did the perfusion equipment, at both
Alcor and Suspended Animation, mostly resemble amateur DIY projects, less than 
four years ago? My guess is, for the money they have spent on salaries and 
consulting fees related to their perfusion equipment, over the years, those two 
companies could have purchased quite a few top-of-the-line heart-lung machines, 
and outsourced the development of the vitrification solution ramping system to a
company capable of completing the project, at a reasonable cost and within a 
reasonable amount of time. I'm guessing little has changed, at Alcor, and I 
believe the only reason the field equipment changed at SA, was in response to my
public criticisms

I believe my criticisms are accurate, when applied to a lot of cryonics 
equipment. There are reputable companies, which specialize in building cryogenic
cooldown boxes and shipping containers, and others that develop and produce 
automatic chest compression devices. Suspended Animation should have called 
those manufacturers, regarding the projects they were doing four years ago, (as 
was suggested to them, at the time). Instead, they invested well into six 
figures, (with the lion's share being man-hours paid to two people), and at 
least three years, on their Autopulse modification project, only to have a 
division of Medtronic announce their affordable battery-powered "Lucas 2" 
device. When I resigned from SA, people were running out to Home Depot, to 
purchase materials for the cooldown box project, when the cost of a 
professionally-built, custom-made cryogenic container wouldn't have been much 
more than one week of man-hours, for the two people working on SA's project. 
Then, there's the liquid ventilation project, which according to LEF's magazine,
was complete except for portability, back in February 2000. A big deal was made
of this project, more than seven years later, at the 2007 Alcor conference, 
where it was announced the device was more efficient, but still not portable. 
How many man-hours have been paid to a handful of people for these 
seemingly-endless, mostly-fruitless cryonics projects, over the years? How many 
dogs has CCR subjected to experimentation, for such projects? Might the projects
have been finished, years ago, if they had been outsourced to reputable 
manufacturers of similar devices? In recent years, many respectable research 
institutions have been investigating methods of inducing hypothermia in a field 
setting, (and some of those investigations have included lung lavage with 

For a very long time, I have been convinced there's a handful of people, with a 
lot of influence in cryonics, who have limited skills and talent, when it comes 
to building medical equipment and/or performing medical procedures, and I think 
they do whatever is necessary, to protect their own incomes, and those of their 
"loyal" friends, (sort of a nerdy version of "good ol' boy politics"). Witness 
what happened, after I went public with my criticisms of Suspended Animation's 
activities. A physician who has ties to Alcor, Critical Care Research, 21CM, 
Suspended Animation, and even Cryonics Institute, posted a number of blatant 
lies about me, on the Internet. This person didn't know me. He worked in 
California and, by his own admission, had no firsthand knowledge of my daily 
activities at SA, in Florida, but that didn't stop him from making false 
accusations, in response to criticisms of an organization funded by his 
benefactors. I think the level of corruption, in cryonics, is truly astounding, 
and I fail to understand why people who have, repeatedly, engaged in 
questionable behaviors continue to be revered, in cryonics. I think it should be
obvious people like these, not only hold cryonics back, but drag it down. Think
of some of the most well-known names in cryonics, and ask how many of them 
would be considered credible witnesses, in a court of law. If Alcor doesn't 
settle the Johnson case, or win it based on his alleged obligations to not 
disclose information about their activities, who is going to testify on Alcor's 
behalf, if Johnson's audiotapes are played in court?

In response to my repeated criticisms, some people have asked me to quit 
criticizing and make constructive suggestions. It's unreasonable to expect 
anyone to instruct a pool of mostly-unqualified people on how to perform the 
well-established tasks of paramedics, vascular surgeons and perfusionists, 
(especially when the previous response to polite suggestions has been a series 
of attempts to undermine such suggestions in favor of keeping things the same, 
followed by lies and personal attacks). Cryonics organizations need strong 
leaders, who will build on existing "state of the art," equipment, related to 
conventional hypothermic medicine, not highly-paid, underqualified people who 
will keep trying to "reinvent the wheel," with the apparent goal of maintaining 
the status quo. Again, the equipment needed to perform chest compressions, 
ventilate patients, administer IV meds, perform vascular cannulations and 
perfusion was, basically, perfected decades ago. If the people funding cryonics 
activities aren't aware of this, I can't help but believe it's because a handful
of people have a strong financial interest in making cryonics mostly a 
never-ending DIY amateur equipment engineering project. It would be much more 
productive, and a lot less costly, to purchase existing equipment and outsource 
any needed modifications, to reputable manufacturers of such equipment. Then, 
all the millions, which are being spent on these projects could be spent on 
hiring competent care providers; developing better washout and vitrification 
solutions; perfecting cooling and storage parameters; and thinking about future 
reanimation efforts, (none of these "DIY" projects, to be assigned to amateurs).
Here are some suggestions, for changing the image, and technological status, of
cryonics organizations, (not necessarily in order of importance):

1. Enlist leaders who are familiar with protocols, techniques and equipment, 
currently being used in conventional hypothermic medical procedures, and build 
on what already exists.

2. Outsource engineering projects to companies, which manufacture similar 
medical equipment, and quit wasting time and money on DIY garage projects.

3. Invest in ensuring activities, (including those of field teams), will not be 
in violation of state and/or federal law.

4. Cut all ties with people who have repeatedly engaged in questionable 
activities, related to their work in cryonics.

5. Don't mistake a willingness to engage in questionable behaviors, which bring 
negative attention to cryonics, as "loyalty."

6. Establish a policy of holding members accountable for ensuring their wishes 
for cryopreservation will be carried out. Things like fighting for someone who 
has been buried (decaying) for more than a year, comes at the cost of public 
ridicule and a huge financial drain. (Think "Tragedy of the Commons.")

7. Invest in reputable organizations performing research, related to 
hypothermia. There are plenty of respectable research organizations and 
scientists currently investigating hypothermic technologies, which may be of 
benefit to cryonics.

8. Hire professionals to perform medical procedures, and quit allowing 
unqualified persons to perform vascular cannulations and other medical 
procedures. Competency in performing these procedures requires a significant 
amount of properly supervised instruction and experience. Attempting to train 
unqualified persons, by allowing them to "play doctor" with dead pigs, a few 
times a year, is only going to result in more (well-deserved) ridicule.

The bottom line: Unless cryonicists want another 40 years of little progress, 
and lots of scandal, some of the faces need to change, starting at the top. It 
doesn't matter how much money any given benefactor pours in. Unless it is 
funding progress, that money is of no benefit to anyone, other than those on the

Melody Maxim

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