X-Message-Number: 7739
Date: Sun, 23 Feb 1997 13:43:09 -0500 (EST)
Subject: ice & research

Sorry, Brian (Wowk)--you weren't paying attention (#7731). Nothing I wrote
 suggested any misunderstanding of freezing damage, so please don't patronize
me. I can certainly make mistakes, but this wasn't one of them.

What I said was, first, that expansion of water on freezing is only around
10%, and therefore it is not true, as you said (#7715) that "Even the fabric
of cells themselves is crushed into these tiny spaces among the ice
crystals." Your statement carried a clear intimation that most of the space
is occupied by ice crystals, leaving only tiny spaces for tissue, AND an
intimation that essentially all of the water will end up in these ice
crystals. This is not the case.

Of course (and I could indeed have made this clearer), if ALL the water in
cells was withdrawn during the freezing process to form pure ice in the
intercellular spaces, or inter-tissue spaces, then the space available for
non-water ingredients would be limited to about that fraction of the volume
not originally accounted for by water. (This is not a "tiny" volume.) But
this is NOT the case. Considerable water--some of it bound with weak chemical
bonds--remains in the cells and tissues, especially if there is some
appropriate cryoprotective agent. Again I recommend that readers review Greg
Fahy's declaration in the Dora Kent case. 

As you correctly say, we needn't depend on theory for everything; a lot of
experimental evidence is available. And electron and light micrographs of
specimens prepared in many different ways, while showing a lot of damage,
also show a lot of retention of structure.

I am struck by a couple of things you say in #7731--that "with a
hyperadvanced nanotechnology, even patients frozen under very bad conditions
could be revived....[but]...freezing, as it occurs in cryonics today, is a
very serious injury that will require advanced nanotechnology for repair."

This is just a rephrasing of my long-standing conjecture (although you
elevate it above conjecture!) that full-fledged nanotech may be both
necessary and sufficient to revive patients frozen by any method heretofore
used. Interesting, and with doubtless unintended implications.

I suppose I must add, for the umpteenth time, that we need to exploit any
advances we can, to reduce the burden on the future and improve our chances.
Cryonics Institute and the Immortalist Society are actively supporting and
doing research, and we will be happy to see anyone, anywhere, make progress.
The trade-offs between cost and benefit will, of course, have to be evaluated
at each stage. CI may at some point have to offer a choice of procedures at
different prices. I hope this can be avoided, but if a necessarily expensive
procedure offers clear benefit, we can hardly freeze out those who can't
afford the optimum.

And again, I have strong doubts about perfectibility of reversible brain
cryopreservation short of full-fledged nanotech. I.e., the problem of
suspended animation may be just as difficult as the problem of revival of
crudely frozen patients, because of the extreme complexity of the brain. I
hope I'm wrong about that, and I don't say it to discourage research, but
like it or not it is another element in the cost/benefit equation.

Robert Ettinger
Cryonics Institute
Immortalist Society

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