X-Message-Number: 9408
From: Ettinger <>
Date: Sat, 4 Apr 1998 10:21:24 EST
Subject: CI procedures

In haste: Charles Platt's (#9403) questions about CI suspension procedures
have been raised and answered repeatedly before, but perhaps some of the
answers were not heard or appreciated. 

Let me just note, in passing, that I believe CI procedures have been more open
and publicly documented than those of other organizations, which invoke
confidentiality, non-disclosure agreements, proprietary interest, etc. to hide
many details; and which have apparently used selected sample photos e.g. to
document elevated claims. CI on the other hand has made full sets of
micrograms available to its severest critics.

As to CI's current and recent procedures, Charles has it about right--and had
no difficulty obtaining the information (again) from us. As to results and
rationale, however, the story is different.

First of all, we have learned not to trust anyone else's reports of their
results--not because they lie, but because it is all too easy (a) to give
incomplete or lopsided information, and (b) conditions vary. Indeed, Alcor and
BP have themselves often warned that no one should adopt procedures they have
not tried and verified in their own labs.

Our current procedures are based mainly on our own work with sheep heads, and
repetition of that work by  cryobiologists and electron microscopists in the
Ukraine. More about that below.

As to osmotic damage by high concentrations of glycerine, yes, that is a
problem; but it is not as severe a problem as Charles makes out, and trying to
avoid it raises other and perhaps worse problems. We HAVE tried ramping up
glycerine concentrations; despite the claims and reports of others, we were
not able to get good results this way. (Later this year we will be starting a
new series of trials with different ways of doing this, and hopefully better

Further, at one point Charles misleadingly quotes a cryobiologist on the bad
effects of 70% glycerine ON CELLS, noting that we use 75%. But what reaches
the vast majority of the cells is not 75%; our measurements (yes, we measured
it) indicate that the brain concentration of glycerine is typically around
26%. That is well within numbers quoted in many professional papers as
producing relatively good protection. 

As to slow freezing in the dry ice cooling phase, and also the nitrogen
cooling phase, we do it because otherwise (again, in our experience) faster
cooling produces shell freezing, differential contraction, and massive

(As an aside, Alcor for a while used a dry ice and alcohol sludge for cooling,
then eventually realized that alcohol has bad effects on the patient. I only
mention this to remind the arm-chair scientists that it is easy to make
mistakes--and I forbear to mention the many other mistakes and reversals of
field on the record.)

As to why we don't drill burr holes in the patients' heads, it is because in
our experience it is unnecessary. The brains don't swell; they shrink a bit.
If your procedure is on the borderline of producing dangerous edema, then you
need burr-holes; we don't.

As to measuring effluent concentrations of glycerine, again, we DO know what
is happening in the body--not only from the sheep head model, but also just by
observing the patient's skin color and texture at various locations.

As to dangerous pressure spikes with roller pumps or mortician's pumps, and
rupture of capillaries etc., that is just not observed with our procedures in
our experience with sheep and people. 

As to the Ukrainian repetition of our work with sheep heads, and their
verification that results were relatively good and that there was no cracking,
I don't have time today to go into the details. But those reports, or
excerpts, have been published in THE IMMORTALIST (with only a few photos).
Full reports and complete photo sets are available; is this true of other

A later follow-up on these topics will also include some information on work
of others.

In a later follow-up (probably within a few days) I will also include some
reminders of the freeze-hardiness of synaptosomes and much other material
tending to refute the pessimistic interpretations, and calling into question
the cost/benefit relation of some purported improvements.

We are not complacent, and are committed to improvement of procedures, within
our constraints--but only as VERIFIED evidence indicates.

Getting back to the day's question--cooperation of organizations in expanded
and upgraded use of morticians for emergency service up to and including
washout and perfusion--Charles does not seem negative. Maybe something can be

Robert Ettinger
Cryonics Institute
Immortalist Society

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