X-Message-Number: 9453
Date: Sat, 11 Apr 1998 15:50:54 -0400 (EDT)
From: Charles Platt <>
Subject: Basic Cryobiology

Let us go back to the basics: "Freezing of living cells: 
mechanisms and implications" by Peter Mazur at Oak Ridge 
National Laboratory, copyright 1984 by the American 
Physiological Society, available as a reprint from Alcor. 
This summarizes more than two decades of knowledge of 
cryobiology. Citing 126 references, it confirms beyond 
reasonable doubt: 
     1. If you introduce a high concentration of perfusate 
     without increasing the concentration gradually, you 
     are very likely to inflict severe osmotic damage. 
     2. If you freeze perfused tissue slowly, you allow 
     larger ice crystals to form and inflict toxicity 
     from high concentrations of salts remaining in the 
In an earlier post I spelled out these facts extremely 
clearly and asked why The Cryonics Institute uses a protocol 
that flouts these basic principles with potentially severe 
In response, Bob Ettinger simply claims that his methods 
produce good results. This places him at odds with 30 
years of accumulated knowledge in cryobiology, derived from 
thousands of experiments. 
To support his claim, he cites one source: the light and 
electron micrographs produced by Pichugin. I have already 
noted that when these micrographs were shown to a leading 
cryobiologist, he was dismayed by the obvious amount of 
damage. I saw the damage myself: large ice holes, capillary 
tears, and scrambled brain tissue. Most of these problems 
could be avoided or minimized with better technique. 
When the micrographs were shown to neurobiologists, they were 
unable even to identify the tissue. 
I believe a note was attached to the micrographs from 
Pichugin, stating in fact that he did use incrementally 
increasing glycerol concentrations. If this wasn't stated in 
CI's magazine, the only way to settle the matter is by 
contacting Pichugin directly. I plan to do this. 
But, since the results achieved by his protocol showed severe 
amounts of damage either way, it doesn't really matter 
whether the protocol was better than, or the same as, the 
protocol used by CI on human patients. It simply did not work 
very well. I invite Bob to compare, for himself, Pichugin's 
micrographs with those that we published in CryoCare Report, 
showing results achieved by properly controlled perfusion. I 
will be glad to send him a copy of the newsletter if he does 
not have one already. 
I don't expect Bob to change his outlook, because this is not 
the first time he has placed himself in opposition to all 
established knowledge in a field of science. For example, he 
continues to defend Olga Visser. But when he claims that an 
uncontrolled, unmonitored, uncalibrated open-circuit 
perfusion with 75 percent (v/v) glycerol can produce results 
equivalent to those of the most advanced research being done 
today, surely someone has to point out that this is optimism 
taken beyond reasonable limits. It is _simply not true._ 
I realize that Bob is much loved in the cryonics community, 
and any upstart who challenges his procedures at CI is like a 
guest on a talk show accusing the host of child abuse. It's 
not a cool thing to do. The audience will boo. But I believe 
that the statements I have made above are beyond dispute.
Regarding the general probability of cryonics patients being 
resuscitated, I am aware of Bob's views on this, but for the 
record, I believe (for example) the probability of eventual 
FDA regulation is far greater than .78, and I believe damage 
repair in many patients may have a probability of zero. 
But why go through all this again? It has been discussed 
inconclusively at great length (e.g. "Will Cryonics Work?" by 
Steven B. Harris in _Cryonics_ magazine, May 1989, which 
suggested overall probability of success somewhere between 
.0023 and .15). This is the kind of topic that cryonicists 
love, because a) no ultimate proof or disproof is possible, 
b) anyone's opinion is as good as anyone else's, regardless 
of professional qualifications, and c) it encourages us to 
forget the problems of the present and daydream about the 
This is precisely the opposite intention of my original post. 
--Charles Platt, CryoCare 

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