X-Message-Number: 9425
Date: Wed, 8 Apr 1998 14:03:53 -0400 (EDT)
From: Charles Platt <>
Subject: Damage to CI Patients

On Wed, 8 Apr 1998, Bob Ettinger wrote:

> The first project was precisely to repeat the CI sheep head work, as
> faithfully as possible, and to evaluate the results in more detail than we
> could do, using light and electron microscopy. 

All of this is irrelevant to the key points.

1. Pichugin gradually increased the concentration of glycerol in 
accordance with standard cryobiological practice.

2. The Cryonics Institute does not do this, when perfusing human patients.

3. Experienced cryobiologists will tell you that if you inflict 70%
glycerol (by volume) in a single pass, this will inflict major damage. 

     So, *why do you do it?* All you have said so far is that ramping up
     the concentration "caused problems." Do you mean it was inconvenient?
     Or what? 

The remainder of your message unfortunately takes a more personal line.

> Recently Platt has been very downbeat, perhaps in part because CryoCare has
> had years of slow growth, no growth, or negative growth. 

CryoCare has not had net negative growth. Our membership figures have been
static, around 80, for the past 18 months, because we made a policy
decision to avoid growth while concerning ourselves with other priorities.
Our membership figures are published and you could have checked them
before casting your aspersion. 

Before I wrote about The Cryonics Institute, I took the trouble to verify 
my facts. I wish you would show the same courtesy toward CryoCare. You 
have made many assertions that are factually wrong, and you would have 
known this if you had bothered to call me, or our Secretary Ben Best, or 
if you had simply checked our web page. I can't help wondering if it is 
more convenient for you NOT to check your facts, so that you are free to 
circulate misinformation in the hope that people will believe it. 

Incidentally, I note that The Cryonics Institute never publishes ANY data 
on its number of members or rate of growth. This is in accordance with a 
long-standing policy of secrecy, which I believe is unfortunate. 
Likewise, Cryonics Institute has never published real data about any of 
its human cases.

> But as president of
> CryoCare, it is hard to understand why he would say on Cryonet that he
> believes a patient under IDEAL circumstances has only about a one in ten
> thousand chance of rescue.

This is not relevant to the discussion, but since you have attacked my 
integrity, I supposed I have to respond. There are many reasons for 
doubting my chances as a cryopatient:

1. Excellent chance of a federal law prohibiting cryonics, within the 
next fifty years. (Look at the hysteria over cloning.) Ironically this 
risk increases as cryonics becomes more plausible. 

2. Good chance of backlash by extremist groups. They bomb abortion 
clinics; why not cryonics facilities?

3. If we succeed in convincing people that cryonics patients are not 
irrevocably dead, the FDA will broaden its mandate to control cryonics 
procedures. At that point, the procedures will become unaffordable, 
because every separate step in the protocol will have to be verified via 
cripplingly expensive animal studies. Moreover, the FDA may demand that 
existing patients, frozen with unapproved technology, must be exhumed.

4. Always a possibility that a cryonics organization will go bankrupt, 
fall into the hands of asset strippers, or suffer some other financial 
catastrophe that is too great to be covered by other organizations. This 
chance is significant because NO cryonics organization survives on 
membership dues alone; they all require donations.

5. Even under optimum circumstances, using the best modern techniques, I 
believe substantial damage to ultrastructure occurs, and I am unconvinced 
that nanotechnology will be capable of resolving it. The nanomachines may 
have the capability, but programming them to fix the damage would be like 
programming today's industrial robots to repair a crashed car. The 
problem is very different from building a new car. It is nontrivial.

6. People in the future may have priorities very different from ours. We 
certainly would spend some money to resuscitate people from the past, 
because we are curious about our past, and we value life. People of the 
future may feel differently.

7. Worse, people of the future may acquire cryonics patients for
experimental procedures. From a future perspective, we may seem as
unevolved as rats. Therefore, we may be treated like rats. Who can say? 

8. Inflation coupled with a market crash may devalue patient funds to the
point where they are insufficient to purchase liquid nitrogen. 

I could go on, but you get the gist. So, why bother with cryonics? 
Because, obviously, there are no better options, and a small chance is 
better than none.

"Thinking positively" can be helpful, but it can also create a false sense
of security. If we do not face problems in cryonics honestly, we lose the
motivation to make improvements, and we end up performing some comforting 
rituals that don't have much scientific basis. I believe this may be what 
has happened at The Cryonics Institute.

I continue working for a cryonics organization because I am fully aware of
the very significant challenges facing us, and I wish to do what I can to
mitigate them. I believe this is a rational response to a tough problem. I
suggest this is more useful than fooling ourselves that "everything will
work out" because no matter how much damage is caused today, those nice
paternal figures of the future will sort it out for us. I believe this
attitude has been the bane of cryonics, retarding progress for the past
thirty years. 

> That would be a harsh and hasty judgment, certainly, but that is what he is
> inviting.

Bob, if you wish to attack my integrity, go ahead and do it honestly. Do 
not cloak it in this kind of nonsense, where you cast an aspersion and 
then shake your head solemnly and say, "Of course, if someone said that, 
it would be a hasty judgment." 

I know you are angry that I have stood up and itemized some very serious
concerns about the damage that I believe CI is doing to patients. I know
you are angry, also, because I wrote a long article a year ago, exposing
Olga Visser's failed rat-heart experiments (which you supported rather
recklessly with an amount in the region of $25,000). But surely this
personal stuff is not relevant. The question is simply whether your vague
claims regarding CI's perfusion and cooldown protocol are scientifically
valid. I have spelled out, very specifically, some excellent reasons for
believing that damage is caused. If I am wrong, I invite you to prove it. 

     Here's a suggestion for a simple way to begin. I invite you to ask
     any experienced cryobiologist what he believes are the
     consequences of perfusing a patient with 75% glycerol (by volume), 
     with no prior attempt to increase concentration gradually. Let's hear
     what an independent observer has to say about this. 

And let's leave my supposed pessimism, or CryoCare's supposed lack of 
membership growth, out of the picture. I doubt that anyone has much 
interest in reading your pejorative statements on these topics.

--Charles Platt

Rate This Message: http://www.cryonet.org/cgi-bin/rate.cgi?msg=9425