X-Message-Number: 6071
Date: Sat, 13 Apr 1996 16:48:41 -0700 (PDT)
Subject: Trans Time newsletter  SCI.CRYONICS

Life Extension through Cryonic Suspension
Volume 5 Number 2                                     April 1996


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                    The Age of LIFE
                    by Hal Sternberg, Ph.D.

As the year 2000 approaches, life extension is becoming
increasingly acceptable and attainable. The biotechnology
industry continues to blossom with companies like Apollo Genetics
and Geron.

I am particularly pleased about the direction in which some
research is going. There are two projects I believe are
particularly important. One is to understand the nature and
characteristics of membrane receptors, membrane components and
membrane antigens of different cell types (including cancer
cells). The other project which I deem important is understanding
the phenomenon of apoptosis, programmed cell death. It is 
important to understand the external triggers which cause
apoptosis and the molecular events which take place to re-program
cells to die. I expect an understanding of apoptosis will help in
the fight against aging. With aging, specific cells throughout
the body are programmed to die. There is a loss of specific
cells, in each tissue throughout the body, which lead to some
tissue disorganization and some compensation (enlargement) by
remaining cells. Learning to prevent apoptosis in specific cell
populations may prolong health and life.

Understanding the membrane components enables targeting of
specific cell populations, including cancer cells, to induce
apoptosis. Other normal cell populations (i.e. nerve cells) can
be targeted to prevent or delay apoptosis.

There is also very exciting research being conducted in
connection with cloning. Recently, Scottish investigators have
taken cells from a 100 cell stage sheep embryo and cultured the
cells. The nucleus was taken out of some cultured cells and put
into enucleated sheep egg cells. Identical sheep developed. The
potential for cloning human tissues identical to our own is

Lastly, attitudes toward life extension continue to improve.
Since there is unlimited commercial value in life extension
technology and a track record already to prove the market, I
suspect fortunes of money to be invested in life extension

                Evaluating Extraordinary Claims
                    by Art Quaife, Ph.D.

In some quarters, the claim that it will prove possible to
reanimate frozen humans is extremely implausible. How do we
assess the likelihood of such extraordinary claims being true?
Consider a different example. Recently on the Cryonet, one
participant posted the following:

Telekinesis, for example, has been firmly established as an
empirical truth--it is the _nature_ of the process that is
unexplained, not whether or not it occurs. . . virtually any
competent clinical experimenter with experience will admit
(however grudgingly) that there is "something to it."

This post brought replies from eleven Cryonetters. Eight of them
generally labeled the claim as bunk. Three suggested references
relevant to "psi" phenomenon that were at least worth looking at.
No netter agreed with the unqualified endorsement of telekinesis.
I found this somewhat reassuring; if a large number of
cryonicists believe that telekinesis is firmly established, I
would worry about the movement I am in.

One netter mentioned the maxim that 

    Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence. 

Regular readers of the TRANS TIMES know that Bayes' Theorem is a
topic dear to my heart. This theorem provides the formal
justification for the above maxim.

Suppose that Joe Doakes claims that he has telekinetic powers--he
can sometimes actually manipulate distant objects simply under
the control of his mind. He agrees to demonstrate these powers
under controlled experimental conditions.

Let H be the hypothesis that Joe Doakes does have telekinetic
powers. Let E be the event that in this particular experiment,
Joe Doakes exhibits what appear to be telekinetic powers--he
apparently causes an object across the room to move by thought
alone. Let E* be the event that the experimenter reports that E
is the case.

The odds formulation of Bayes' Theorem applied to this case is:

    O(H|E*) = L(E*|H) O(H),

where O(X) is the odds ratio P(X) / (1 - P(X)), and L(E*|H) =
P(E*|H) / P(E*|~H) is the likelihood ratio.

Here we see the formal basis of the above maxim. An extraordinary
claim would be the claim that O(H|E*) is high even though O(H) is
low. That would require a high value of L(E*|H).

 It is easy to show that

             [L(E*|E) - 1] P(E| H) + 1
L(E*|H)  =   -------------------------    
             [L(E*|E) - 1] P(E|~H) + 1

The overall likelihood depends upon the likelihood that the
experimenter has correctly reported what happened, and even if
that report is correct the likelihood that Doakes is telekinetic
based on the experiment.

Now assume that L(E*|E) and L(E|H) are both at least 1. Then it
is easy to see that 

    L(E*|H)  <= minimum(L(E*|E), L(E|H)).

We see that quite literally, an inference chain is no stronger
than its weakest link.

Now L(E*|E) is the likelihood that the report E* correctly
reflects that E occurred. Most reports of "psi" experiments break
down right here--usually there is a good chance the experimenter
has been bamboozled by a trickster. For such experiments we need
go no further, since this weak link (likelihood ratio not too
much greater than 1) precludes us drawing any strong inference of

Suppose, though, that this experiment has been set up under the
direction of James (The Amazing) Randi and other magicians,
scientists, and skeptics. Suppose that Doakes demonstrates his
abilities under their scrutiny, they are unable to explain the
results as due to anything other than telekinesis, and Randi pays
off the $10,000 reward he offers for such a demonstration. Under
these circumstances, L(E*|E) should have quite a high value, say

Now P(E|H) is the fraction of trials in which Joe Doakes is able
to demonstrate his powers. Suppose, for illustration, this is .5. 

P(E|~H) is the probability of the experiment succeeding even if
Doakes is not telekinetic. If the experiment has been well
designed, this should be a small number like 1/100. It won't be
zero, because even these experts may have overlooked some way the
experiment could succeed without telekinesis.

Plugging these values into our chain inference formula, we get
L(E*|H) = [approx.] 17.

But we still need to consider the factor O(H). What is the
likelihood of Doakes' claim being true *prior* to conducting the
experiment? If we already know a lot about Doakes, our knowledge
of his character will weigh heavily in our estimate. But suppose
we know next to nothing about Doakes. His claims seems highly
implausible on the basis of current physics--although the
foundations of quantum mechanics are sufficiently murky and
mysterious that it is hard to say for sure.(1) Different people
will offer different subjective estimates of this value; for me   
1 / 2000 seems about right.

Under all these assumptions, we then have O(H|E*) = [approx.]
.008. The odds are still strongly against Doakes being

1.  For example, [1] describes a possible teleportation device
based upon the experiments of Alain Aspect showing that action at
a distance is possible. This is suggestive of telekinesis. If
Doakes is a physicist who wants to set up experiment E like an
Aspect experiment, my estimate of his prior odds would increase

[1]   Gribben, J. Schroedinger's Kittens and the Search for
Reality. Boston: Little, Brown and Company (1995).

            BioTime Files Phase III Investigational 
            New Drug Application For Hextend(trademark)

BioTime, Inc. (BTIM - NASDAQ) announced that it has filed an
Investigational New Drug (IND) Application with the Food and Drug
Administration (FDA) requesting permission to initiate Phase III
clinical trials for Hextend, a proprietary plasma volume
expander. Hextend is formulated to minimize physiological
imbalances when large quantities of solution are infused into
patients to replace blood volume lost during surgery.

The clinical trials are designed to test whether the use of
Hextend during major elective surgeries such as orthopedic,
urologic and gastrointestinal procedures, can prevent hypovolemia
and maintain organ perfusion, thus improving patient outcome.
Extensive blood loss during these surgeries commonly causes
hypovolemia, a condition that results when there is not enough
circulation of fluid to adequately support all the tissues of the
body. When hypovolemia occurs, blood flow to organs such as the
gastrointestinal tract, liver and kidneys, diminishes, resulting
in damage to these organs.

BioTime plans to use Hextend in these studies in volumes as
needed to prevent hypovolemia. It is anticipated that such use of
Hextend will result in improved organ blood flow, and therefore
reduce postoperative illness. This should translate into
healthier patients, shorter periods of intensive care and
hospital stays, and lower hospital costs.

Following appropriate regulatory and institutional review, these
clinical trials are expected to begin at the Duke University
Medical Center in Durham, NC, Dr. Paul Segall, president and
chief executive officer of BioTime, stated that "these trials
would be the first of a series which BioTime will conduct to
assess the safety and efficacy of Hextend in a number of surgical
procedures in which Hextend's unique properties may be of

Additional studies are being designed to assess the value of
Hextend as a priming solution in cardiopulmonary bypass, in
extending the duration and improving the outcome of low
temperature cardiovascular and neurologic surgeries, and in
harvesting and transporting organs for transplantation.

BioTime, headquartered in Berkeley, California, is engaged in the
research and development of synthetic plasma and low temperature
blood substitute solutions and technology for use in surgery,
emergency trauma treatment, the preservation of organs awaiting
transplant, and other applications.

TRANS TIME owns stock in BioTime, and uses solutions based upon
BioTime's formulations in the suspension of its clients.

                    BioTime Update
                    by Art Quaife, Ph.D.

As we go to press, BioTime reports that it is now in discussions
with the FDA concerning modifications of its proposed protocol.
BioTime intends to optimize its protocol to maximizes the
likelihood that upon successful completion of Phase III clinical
trials, they will have met the regulatory requirements for filing
the broadest possible New Drug Application for Hextend. 

In the 3-3/4 years since BioTime went public, its common stock
fell steadily from $10 to $1-1/2. But recently its stock has
taken off. The front page of the 4/2/96 San Francisco Chronicle
business section has an article "Biotech Leads Area's Stocks".
The article states "It was a ho-hum first quarter for Bay Area
stocks. . . . The best performer was BioTime, a Berkeley company
that hasn't reported any revenues since it went public in 1992.
It's stock surged 172 percent in the quarter." The accompanying
table shows it at the top of the list, its value having increased
from $3-1/8  to $8-1/2 in the first quarter.

In my opinion, a major key to achieving long term success in
cryonics is to show that it is possible to make a profit offering
cryonics services. This will attract entrepreneurs and money to
the field. For several years in TRANS TIME's history, we did make
a small profit on cryonics operations, yet not enough to attract
much interest. But the initial private investors in the two low
temperature medicine companies that our colleagues created,
Cryomedical Sciences and BioTime, have done very well for
themselves. And indeed, two cryonics-related companies have
recently been formed to try to emulate BioTime's success in
raising money for research.

                    Have Something to Say?

We invite our readers to submit cryonics-related articles for
possible publication in this newsletter. The best way to submit
is to send us the article in WordPerfect, on an MS-DOS diskette.
Call us about other electronic formats you may use. We will also
consider typed or handwritten submissions.

                        A Query

How often do you see or hear statements of the form "It may or
may not be true that X?" What is the information content of such
an assertion? Why do people frequently propound tautologies as if
they were conveying information?


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