These are most of the articles I had published in Funeral Service Journal over a space of several years between 1987 and 1995. The presence of these articles enabled Alcor UK Ltd to achieve a professional relationship with the funeral directors' profession, and also they encouraged Barry Albin, of F. A. Albin and Son, to become the official European representative of the Cryonics Institute. He has since used the special caskets he has made to arrange transport of cryopreservation patients from Europe to Michigan, USA.
I recommend that you download this page and then save it and read it off line. Use you browser's search facility to look for specific words if you like.
The articles appear in the order with which they were written, and some of the earlier ones (written before I had a PC) and not here.
Last time in Funeral Service Journal I detailed the services of Trygve Bauge in arranging post mortem suspensions. I also intimated that the cost effective Cryonics Institute had reversed their policy on disallowing non-member or post mortem suspensions.
In October, 1990, an elderly French woman was preserved by her son, with a view to cryonic storage. For some unexplained reason, he didn't contact the American cryonics societies until the woman had been held in hospital storage at around zero degrees Celsius for around a fortnight. This courageous man spoke no English, but booked transatlantic calls via an interpreter to the American Cryonics Society, Alcor, Trans Time, and the Cryonics Institute. There were many problems, but the main difficulties involved money, bureaucracy and legal risks. Trans Time briefly hired Mr Bauge to work on the case, although there was a misunderstanding inasmuch as the son didn't realise he would have to pay him separately. Mr Bauge has from now on made it a policy to set out the financial effects of using his assistance (detailed in the previous article) clearly in advance. Alcor were quickly rejected, on grounds of cost and their policy of never relinquishing control of a patient once in their care. The son was never interested in head only storage, or neuropreservation as it is known by the cryonicists. Trans Time were amenable to all the man's wishes, but regretfully he could not raise their fees.
That left the Cryonics Institute as the only organisation that might be affordable, with its one-time payment of $1,250 for membership and $28,000 minimum contract funding, with no other charges ever. After taking other expenses into consideration, the main one being shipment of the remains, it might just be feasible for the son, if he were to mortgage his house and spend all his life savings.
The directors of the Cryonics Institute held a telephone conference to discuss the case. For them there were four main considerations.
One was the son's requirement that he should have the option of later removing his mother's remains from their care. The Cryonics Institute's standard contract does not allow removal of patients. However the directors decided, with commendable flexibility, that this case was exceptional. The patient herself had not made the cryonics arrangements or paid the money, and would have been be buried or cremated had her son not arranged her suspension. Therefore they decided to allow the right to the son to remove the remains if he wished on 30 days notice and provided that there would be no refund of part of the payment, and that the privilege would not pass to any successor or any other person.
Another was the appalling condition, from a cryonics perspective, of the body. It had been held at zero Celsius for two weeks, not perfused and cooled to dry ice temperature as is recommended in cryonic procedures. Would the chance of revival be so poor that the suspension would throw bad light on the credibility of the movement as a whole? The directors decided that in the lack of any clear cut information, the fact that the son appeared to be aware of the circumstances and implications was sufficient for the suspension to proceed. This question as to how well the next of kin was informed as to the nature of cryonics formed the third area of discussion by the directors. They videotaped an interview at the Cryonics Institute laboratory with the son using a neutral French interpreter, so that they had a record of his understanding at the time. The final quandary was the fact that the son would be consuming his life's savings and indeed mortgaging his home. There is the risk that there could be future litigation to the effect that he had acted and been unduly influenced to make a rash decision at a time of grief. They decided that the correct course of action was to make extraordinary efforts to make him understand the negatives, take disinterested advice, and have time to cool off before making a final decision.
At the time of writing, the son is making arrangements for the storage to continue at dry ice temperature, and attempts are being made with the French authorities to allow storage to continue either at home or at a cemetery. Shipment to the Cryonics Institute remains an open option.
Alcor Inc have published an article in Cryonics deprecating the services of Mr Trygve Bauge in arranging cryonic suspensions for people who have done no prior legal work.
Alcor state that only Alcor or an Alcor authorised representative can act to negotiate for accepting or refusing any person, living or legally dead into Alcor's suspension program. They will not deal with Mr Bauge or any other unapproved intermediary.
Dr Anatole Dolinoff, a long-time French cryonicist, is quoted by Cryonics as saying that he was horrified by Mr Bauge's letter detailing his terms of payment for helping sort out cryonics cases. Dr Dolinoff claimed that Professor Ettinger of the Cryonics Institute "is not at all willing to be involved in anything of that kind."
Alcor have also disowned a similar service offered by Mr Charles Tandy, a researcher formerly employed by the Life Extension Foundation of Florida. This foundation had previously helped Alcor financially at a time when it was less well known. Alcor accused Mr Tandy of reprinting an Alcor brochure, altering the wording slightly, and adding the names of two other cryonics societies, without their knowledge or consent.
The American Cryonics Society, (PO Box 761, Cupertino, CA 95015, USA [(408) 446-4425 or 255-1763. Fax: 408-973-1046: after hours: 725-0385]), would be willing to accept "mortuary level" suspensions coming from Europe, according to their Secretary, Mr Jim Yount. However Dr Art Quaife, director of Trans Time Inc., the company used by the American Cryonics Society to perform suspensions, said that such last minute suspensions usually fail though money problems and government regulations over shipping a remains between countries.
It is the American Cryonics Society's advice that perfusion and dry-ice freezing should proceed as quickly as possible using morticians or whatever facilities are available. When the patient is in dry ice, arrange with the American Cryonics Society for him to be stored by Trans Time or the Cryonics Institute. Either way, the American Cryonics Society is willing to act in the client's behalf in making arrangements as well as providing telephone consultation and instructions.
The Cryonics Institute have announced that they will be surcharging non-member suspensions. These will cost $35,000 instead of $28,000. They say this is to discourage procrastination. Nevertheless, $35,000 is about £18,000 and is considerably less for their whole body service than Alcor's heads only fee.
Most newspapers carried the story at one time or another that Saddam Hussein applied to the American Cryonics Society for details of cryonic suspension a few months before he invaded Kuwait. The society, headed by an Israeli, Dr Ben Abraham, said that they would have considered his application before the invasion, but not now. They have not heard anything more for some while, but Dr Ben Abraham has instructed that any further communication from that quarter is to be handed to him personally for attention.
Amongst the US servicemen taking part in Desert Storm is a Marine Captain who has made cryonic suspension arrangements through the American Cryonics Society. This is the first time a suspension member of any cryonics society has been involved in active service during hostilities. The Captain will be carrying special cold bags. These contain two chemicals in separate compartments. When the seal is broken, they combine and perform an endothermic reaction, which refrigerates their surroundings. It is hoped that in an emergency these will help preserve his remains until they can be conveyed to a place where perfusion and suspension can be carried out.
The greatest fear of the cryonicist is autopsy. The procedures used, which are entirely for the benefit of The State not The Individual, involve gross violation of the body and more importantly the brain, which includes the mind. Sufficient information to recover that mind is believed to be contained within a newly deceased brain, although this information is lost with rotting or burning - or autopsy.
Often, as cryonicists may put it, the brain is "ripped from the skull and torn into shreds". (Or in the pathologists' terms, removed from the skull and sectioned.) The purpose of sectioning the brain is to investigate for illegal forms of death and also to determine whether the patient had any dementia. Data gathered during autopsies benefits the State inasmuch as it provides demographic information as to the spread of disease and also it helps medical research.
The brain is the body part that is of most interest to cryonicists. It contains the program and data that make humans individual, and indeed some cryonicists preserve only their heads in the belief that this is easier. It also enables the perfusion process to focus on providing the best possible conditions for the brain as opposed to the whole body. Others believe that it is better to preserve the whole body, for a number of reasons. Indeed, Alcor's policy is to recommend head only preservation on the grounds that a technology capable of reviving an old body will also be able to grow a replacement body form genetic information stored in the cells which make up the head. Alcor's late perfusionist, Dr Jerry Leaf, (who died as a result of smoking), however said that he preferred whole body. His preference was based on his experience as an aeroplane pilot - pilots always think the first 'plane they trained on is the best one to fly.
The cryonics support group The Venturists have organised themselves as a religion for legal reasons. American law grants citizens of the United States the freedom to reject autopsy on grounds of religious belief. Therefore The Venturists have published a card that members can carry. It is worded as follows:
CERTIFICATE OF RELIGIOUS BELIEF
Pursuant to section 274191.43 of the Government Code of the State of California, I hereby execute this certificate of religious belief,
My religious belief compels me to oppose any post mortem procedure, dissection or autopsy which would in any way delay, impede, or prevent the cryonic suspension of my human remains.
Society for Venturism (619) 249-3553
At the moment such freedoms do not exist in the UK. Pathologists have invested large sums of money and a large chunk of their time as young men studying for the profession. They are not going to take lightly any move that may reduce their earning capacity. Nevertheless, unless foul play is suspected in a given situation, it is likely that individuals in the profession will try to do as little damage as possible if the needs of the bereaved family are made known to them.
With the growing popularity of foreign holidays there must be an increasing number of cases of people dying overseas. I know of two cases where the next of kin were put to more expense and trouble than I should have thought would be justified.
In one case the couple had always disagreed about foreign travel as one didn't like flying. Eventually the other one went abroad on their own, and died whilst on holiday. Instead of the funeral directors' profession arranging for the remains to be repatriated, the spouse who hated flying was obliged to fly abroad to make lots of arduous arrangements and fly back with the remains. In the other instance there wasn't any special prejudices against flight, but nevertheless considerable expense and extra work at a time when the bereaved needed it like the proverbial hole in the head.
If there are repatriation services whereby the remains can be delivered home for a funeral at the home town without the bereaved officiating, these people weren't told of them.
If such services don't at present exist, then clearly there would be an opening in the profession to provide them, especially with the growing practise of local authorities wintering old people in Spain to save costs.
Mr Alan Sinclair, founder and principal shareholder of Alcor (UK) Ltd., is seeking additional investors to join him. Part of his industrial unit near Eastbourne was purchased on mortgage, and a change in the law has stopped him from putting the interest payable against profits from his other enterprises. He seeks to raise £50,000 for other investors, and the group has said that shareholders may if they wish regard their investment as forming part of their suspension fund, thus relieving them of the problems and uncertainties of life insurance or other probate free post mortem capital transfers. As far as I understand the investment would be in the form of a bond associated with the property rather than a share in the business of cryonic suspension as such. This form of investment has been used to fund the US facility of Alcor, and in fact shareholders will see a profit when Alcor move to a larger facility. Existing shareholders will receive a repayment of capital when the old building is sold, together with profit on the transaction. Of course, Alcor hope that they will re-invest in the new building.
The first UK suspension nearly took place in March. However it transpired that the family concerned believed that their son would be reanimated within as few as 20 years, and when they learned that it could be hundreds of years, they decided against the procedure. Mr Trygve Bauge was involved as mediator, following the coverage of his service in Funeral Service Journal. The funeral profession were the initial contact point in this case, and it is a useful lesson for the future to make the revival time clear from the onset - it saves wasted time and effort if the realities of the situation are not satisfactory to the client. There are no doubt many such lessons to be learned, and it is hoped that I will be able to bring them to light in this column. Another point arising from this suspension is - don't embalm the deceased! Full instructions should be obtained from a cryonics organisation as soon as possible before any action is taken.
Of course the lack of a 20 year revival timescale is not really a point of issue. If the whole family had opted for cryonic suspension, the son could have been suspended now, and the parents in 30 or 40 years time. Assuming the legal, social and technical difficulties were overcome and the family were revived, they would all end up together again, which presumably is what the parents expected to happen in 20 years time.
Writing in Canadian Cryonics News Douglas Skrecky proposed an alternative process that does not involve freezing. This is called anhydrobiotic biostasis, and the procedure he proposes is as follows: 1. The body temperature of the still living terminally ill patient is reduced. 2. The blood supply is then replaced by sugar saturated blood. 3. Body temperature is again lowered breath stops and the entire body is vitrified as the sugar solidifies. 4. The corpse is gradually air dried to produce a Mummy. 5. The Mummy is placed in an anaerobic or oxygen free environment for long term storage. He also suggests introducing the anti-oxidant diethylhydroxalamine, although he does not mention at what stage or how it is introduced to the body.. Of course this summary is a grossly simplified account of Mr Skrecky's article, which in it's turn is a simplification of scientific literature. The editor of Canadian Cryonics News expresses some reservations with the process, but welcomes the proposal of another alternative to cryonics. Also the proposal involves treated a dying patient in a manner which lawyers would see mileage in calling "murder" - even cryonicists wait until the patient is legally deceased before freezing him. However the same procedure could be used as with some cryonics cases - attach a CPR machine to the dead patient to get blood flow in order to introduce chemicals, cryoprotectants in the cryonics case, and sugars in the anhydrobiotic biostasis case.
Cryonic suspension today is an expensive business, but soon after the first cryonics group formed, The Life Extension Society, it offered to freeze the first person free: "The Life Extension Society now has primitive facilities for emergency short term freezing and storing ... LES offers to freeze, free of charge, the first person desirous and in need of cryogenic suspension." However, despite this generous offer, the Life Extension Society never froze anybody.
In May 1965, Wilma Jean McLaughlin had fallen into oblivion because her husband's plans to suspend her failed. As one report had it, some of her relatives and their minister of religion were against it. The minister said that the operation was untested and the doctors could not assure him that it would succeed. Of course this misses the whole point: cryonics relies on future science for reanimation and therefore cannot be tested. In any case, the patient would not lose anything if the process did not work.
In the same year, Mr Dandridge M. Cole, a scientist and technology forecaster who was actively interested in cryonics, died aged 44, but was not put into suspension because of the lack of any firm arrangements and lack of support by friends and relatives. An elderly woman whose identity was never revealed was put into suspension by the Cryo Care Corporation of Phoenix, Arizona the following year, but was removed and interred conventionally a few months later.
But the journey of the First Man In Time began in January 1977. Dr James H. Bedford had no Cavor to invent cavorite and make a cosy little time-ship. He is not experiencing the adventures on the way as did H.G. Wells' first man in the moon. However when he is revived, he will no doubt read about them with interest. His suspension was still primitive by modern standards, but nevertheless is more recognisable as the modern process than the two previous attempts. The suspension began soon after death, because he had found a cooperating physician and made prior arrangements. He died in a nursing home, where there is a smaller chain of command than in a hospital, therefore fewer people have to be made to cooperate.
Initially Bedford was suspended by the ill fated Cryonic Society of California, which later was to fail with ignominy, but fortunately for him his wife had him removed from them and shipped to Cryo-Care only six days later. This was extremely fortunate, as otherwise he would have perished with the other patients of CSC when it finally failed. Early in 1967 he was transferred to another capsule as the one carrying him was performing badly, requiring too frequent topping up with liquid nitrogen.
Two years later, Bedford's travels continued, to a company called Galiso Inc., and he was transferred again to a newer and more reliable capsule, built by this company. Bedford's chances of survival were under constant assault from relatives, but the fierce loyalty of his son Norman and his wife prevailed to keep him in suspension. His wife was reported not to believe in cryonics herself, but had a fierce determination to carry out her husband's wishes despite vituperative attacks from those around her and little support from those involved with cryonic suspension.
In 1976 Galiso's insurers tried to make profit out of the fact that Bedford was on their premises, and Norman drove his capsule on a trailer to Trans Time Inc. However their escalating charges caused Norman to remove his father from their care in June 1977, and try and maintain the Galiso capsule themselves. However the company supplying the liquid nitrogen discovered what was in the capsule and started exploiting the situation by charging a $60 delivery charge for every fill.
In 1982, Mike Darwin of Alcor became curious as to Bedford's fate, and found the capsule and with a certain amount of difficulty persuaded its custodians to allow Alcor to look after it. Mrs Bedford died in 1987 without suspension, (her remains were annihilated by cremation) and Norman irrevocably transferred to the capsule to Alcor in that year, acting on his mother's instructions. They considered the five years that Alcor has maintained the capsule without extortion or hassle sufficient proof that they could be trusted. Bedford remains with Alcor to this day, although he was transferred from the now failing Galiso capsule to a modern Alcor one in 1991. Mr Darwin wrote that Bedford's body was in perfect condition showing that despite all the adventures it had never been allowed to thaw during its years of suspension.
The journey now continues, and of course Mike Darwin has his own suspension arrangements ready and in place. Some years ago, he changed his name from Ferdowicz to Darwin. Perhaps he should change it to Cavor now. Or perhaps not, in case they find Selenites or Morlocks or some similar (fortunately unlikely) Wellisan monsters when they reach the future...
In the July 1991 issue of Funeral Service Journal an article described how the small funeral director could arrange pre-paid funerals by way of the "Monument" trust. The list of problems facing the client wishing to fund his own funeral without troubling his relatives is very familiar to the aspiring cryonicist. An ordinary mortalist doesn't face one problem that the cryonicist faces.
When the mortalist perishes it doesn't really matter what happens to his remains - burn or rot, the end result is the same. The Immortalist, or cryonicist, however, believes that if he is cremated or buried, he will be annihilated. Whereas if his remains are frozen then he stands a small but finite chance of revival to good health in an indeterminate life in a young body. The cryonicist, therefore, is desperate to ensure that his remains are treated in the way he requires. This desperation is tinged with fears that his relatives and the authorities will conspire to prevent his suspension, and in his eyes therefore kill him when he is totally unable to help himself.
Regardless of whether these beliefs and fears are sound, clearly well conceived cryonics arrangements will bring peace of mind to the individual concerned. Therefore it is in keeping with the funeral director's professional duty to alleviate the problems concerning death to help with any such arrangements being proposed.
The problem, of course, is that the cost of cryonic suspension is well above that of an ordinary funeral. The least expensive of the options is whole body suspension with the Cryonics Institute in Michigan. They charge $1,250 to join with no annual fee, and they charge $28,000 for the actual suspension, to be paid immediately and not through the probate system, with its tendency to introduce costs, delays and possible injustices. In addition, the costs of transport to the USA would be of the order of £5,000. Payment would depend on the terms of the firm involved, but obviously they would prefer to be paid as soon as possible. At the time of writing, I do not know whether if the international removal would be free of VAT if ordered from the USA, but if this is the case, then the amount could be added to the $28,000 and dealt with as described below.
At present many cryonicists use life insurance to fund their suspensions. The Cryonics Institute have a program designed to keep their costs constant despite inflation, but the political forces behind inflation are very strong, and they may not be able to do this forever. In fact, their suspension agreement does have provision to raise this sum. Unfortunately there is no life insurance where the premium and sum assured rise in line with inflation. Policy holders can only add to the sum insured if new life cover is taken out, and as this would be at a higher age, the premium would be proportionately higher. As most people now know, virtually the whole of the first year's premiums are actually given to the professional involved in arranging the insurance. This makes it even more difficult to keep sums insured in line with inflation. To keep a constant value insured, premiums would rise at a disastrously high rate. However, if The Immortalist has the money to hand, then he can set up a US revocable trust to fund his suspension. The Cryonics Institute will provide a model trust document. The advantage of this is that the owner of the trust can manage it himself, and therefore have no trustee's fees to pay! Such trusts are illegal in the UK, but if the stocks or other assets of the trust are located in the USA, such as a New York stockbroker's account, then there is nothing the UK legal profession can do about it. If they wanted to litigate they'd have to travel to the USA, when they would come under US law. The contents of the trust would be subject to UK taxation and should be reported as if they belonged to the owner outright, and will be subject to death taxes. (Currently incorrectly called "Inheritance" Tax: a genuine inheritance tax is payed by the recipient, not the donor's estate, and is based on the recipient's financial position, not the donor's.) However the sum involved for cryonics is well below the limit for death taxes at present, although it could affect larger estates where substantial sums are left for other and taxable purposes.
The effect of the trust on an estate is that the estate not in the trust will have to bear the death taxes associated with the trust. For example, if the trust was worth £25,000 and the remaining estate was worth £200,000 then the remaining estate would have to bear death taxes as if it had been worth £225,000. In cases where cryonics clients haven't got enough funds to start a trust right away, term life insurance for say ten years can be used, and at the same time funds can be built up in a brokerage account so that at the end of the term there will be sufficient for cryonics purposes. In the case of a young person this may be slightly more expensive than whole life for the minimum amount, but much cheaper than insuring for an estimated indexed minimum amount at actuarial death. (Example: client aged 30, actuarial death 75, inflation rate 10%: sum assured would need to be 28,000 x (1+10/100) raised to the power of 45, which is just over two million dollars.) If you could afford such insurance then you could also afford to set up a trust, and the trust would make you much more money unless you perished prematurely.
It should be pointed out that although in the long terms stocks will always rise beyond inflation, this may not be true in the short and medium terms. Therefore a trust should be above the $28,000 minimum level if it is to avoid the situation where the owner's death occurs during a slump in the market. The relationship between the Cryonics Institute and its clients is unusual. In most cases, especially where large sums of money are involved, the parties to a deal are in opposition: the buyer of the goods or services wants the best deal for the smallest price, and the seller wants to get as much money for as little work as possible. However, with cryonics this is not the case. The buyer has no use for the money when it is handed over. Once his remains is in care of the Institute, their interests become identical. The buyer will perish if the institute fails. If the Institute prospers, the buyer has more chance of revival, and of rehabilitation thereon. This being the case, there is no difficulty in that "too much" money appears in the trust after the suspension is performed. Indeed, it would be expected that the bulk of the estate will also pass by will to the Cryonics Institute, or some related organisation, as this will also add to the client's chances of revival.
Mr Francis J. Caruso is a U.S. stockbroker working with a leading stockbroking firm with offices in London and New York. He is familiar with cryonics trusts and would be willing to assist any enquirers. It should be pointed out, however, that Mr Caruso and his firm simply act as financial advisors who can run accounts for trusts provided by and managed by their owners or owners' trustees. They can give no endorsement, encouragement or advice in connection with any other aspects of cryonic suspension. Readers interested in discussing cryonics trusts or indeed general investment in U.S. securities are invited to call him on 071-438-4191.
by Douglas Skrecky
Summum corporation of Salt Lake City, Utah USA is in the mummification business. For a hefty fee of $7700 they will mummify the corpse of the deceased. Unlike cryonics companies no claims about possible future reanimation are used to sell this service. Instead the selling point is to the vanity of individuals who are unwilling to allow their bodies to burn or decompose after they die. It is not impossible that some of these American mummies may one day find a final resting place beside the ancient Egyptian pharoahs in museums of the distant future. If current trends hold up there may soon be more people signed up to be mummified than all those signed up to be frozen by cryonics companies. Is the funeral industry missing out on a substantial amount of business by not offering an alternative to cremation or traditonal interment procedures?
Mummification could involve expensive apparatus such as a refrigerated vaccuum dessicator or ... provided the corpse is first embalmed dessication need only require the use of a container large enough to hold the body and a high capacity dehumidifier. With the output of the dehumidifier blowing directly onto the corpse complete mummification would take about a week. In order to insure high quality preservation higher doses of formaldehyde than is customarily used in embalming would need to be employed, in addition probably to small amounts of glutaraldehyde as well. The best results with formaldehyde alone seem to be obtained by altering the embalming procedures to a two step procedure. For instance by first perfusing with a pH 6.5 formaldehyde solution rapid penetration of tissue is obtained as formaldehyde does not react with proteins significantly at this low PH. Then after switching to a pH 11 formaldehyde perfusion rapid fixation occurs which is quite uniform since the tissue has already been saturated with formaldehyde from the previous step.1
After embalming has been completed it may be worthwhile to perfuse the corpse one last time with a sugar saturated solution before commencing dessication. Strictly speaking even mummification may offer at least some chance however small for future revival. Cryonics companies base their claims of revival on the use of cryoprotectants to minimize freezing damage. Similar claims might conceivably be made for mummification if agents to protect against drying damage were used. It is now known that one of the most effective such agents is sucrose or common table sugar.2
After mummification is completed long-term storage would require a corrosion resistant casket, which would then be packed with a desiccant such as calcium oxide. Although steel and even bronze caskets eventually corrode underground tests have found that type 316L stainless steel remains inert in all fresh water exposures. The only known vulnerability of this mid price stainless alloy in fresh water is by corrosion induced by some types of bacteria. No corrosion would be thus be expected in the arctic permafrost. For local burial sites which are located on high ground well away from the seashore a 316L casket would seem to stand a good chance of remaining intact for at least a few centuries. This is something of a bargain as tests have found that more expensive high molybdenum stainless steel and nickel alloys used for seawater service are LESS resistant than 316L to microbiologically induced corrosion.3 The total costs associated with mummification would appear to be no larger than those incurred with some of the more elaborate traditional interments. While future reanimation can not be guaranteed by any method of preservation mummification can offer a highly credible option for ensuring long-term preservation of human remains.
1. Importance of Fixation in Immunohistochemistry: Use of Formaldehyde Solutions at Variable pH for the Localization of Tyrosine Hydroxylase 844-850 Vol.29. No.7 1981 The Journal of Histochemistry and Cytochemistry
2. Interactions of Sugars With Membranes 367-384 Vol.947 1988 Biochimica et Biophysica Acta
3. Ranking Alloys for Susceptibility to MIC - A Preliminary Report on High-Mo Alloys 55-57 January 1991 Materials Performance
The second of a series of events is seldom as newsworthy as the first, but in the field of the preservation of remains with a view to future reanimation there is much of interest in the world's second permafrost "cryonic" internment (PCI). The relatively high cost of cryonics, together with surcharges and other difficulties for people who have not pre-arranged suspension, makes PCI an obvious choice for those new to cryonics faced with the death of a loved one. Thus it was in July 1991 that a chemist located somewhere in Europe (precise details are scant because the family has asked for no publicity) chilled his deceased grandmother to 20C within a hour of deanimation. It took him five days to get agreement from relatives for a permafrost burial, and she was kept at this temperature for 5 days before embalming with 50% formaldehyde, 10% alcohol, plus other compounds like Ringer's solution. The full formulation was not published in the cryonics press. Perfusion was performed through the femoral artery using an automatic pump for 1½ days, and 50 litres total volume was pumped in. Embalming is now though to be an essential part of the PCI procedure if reanimation is to be possible. See recent issues of Longevity Report (available from Longevity Books for £10 per year UK) for detailed discussion of this. He built the special coffin himself to specifications he believed to be suitable for long term permafrost storage. The total weight was 550kg, which some international shippers of remains thought was excessive.
He then contacted the Cryonics Society of Canada for help in arranging a burial at Resolute Bay, in Northern Canada. They found that there was considerable difficulty in overcoming problems involving the Department of External Affairs, the Government of North West Territories, and the local Council of Resolute Bay. For a non-Canadian to be buried at Resolute Bay there had to be a bylaw added to the Hamlets Act for the Hamlet of Resolute Bay. The bylaw had to be drawn up at Regional Office at Iqualuit, the Indian name by which Frobisher Bay is now known. As with all things bureaucratic, this took considerable time. By mid August they had done nothing, and there was pressure from Europe to get the body buried, from relatives and the funeral director involved that end. Other options were being considered, such as Yellowknife and Alaska.
Mr Benjamin Best, of the Cryonics Society of Canada, contacted a funeral director in Montreal to receive the remains from Europe and hold it in cold storage until a burial site could be found. He chose Montreal because there is a direct flight to Resolute from there. The funeral director chosen was Mr Gary Fetterly, of Kane & Fetterly, Inc. [(514) 481-5301]. Mr Fetterly is an expert in the shipment of remains and Mr Best said he was very helpful. He agreed to hold the remains in cold storage at no additional charge until a burial site had been found.
The Indians of Resolute were concerned that if they allowed one PCI there could be many others, and they would have to reorganise their entire cemetery allocation. The funeral director at Inuvik was contacted, but he wasn't able to help. Two weeks later the council decided that they would pass a bylaw allowing foreigners to be buried there, but would refuse this particular case! They seemed suspicious that the whole thing was a confidence trick. This could be due to their highly collective culture. Their land had been given to them collectively by the Federal Government. (ie given to Indians rather than to individuals.) They have no industry other than a little tourism, and little incentive to create any. They have no profit motive or individual incentive for self improvement, and regard anyone that does provide a service for money as unethical.
A decision was therefore made to ship the remains to Yellowknife, which was done with the help of the American Cryonics Society. (ACS) A grave was dug to a depth of 10 feet, frozen clay being encountered at six feet. A plastic pipe was inserted in the grave extending to the surface. A thermocouple with a long lead wire was sent to the site, and this will be installed and the pipe removed. This will allow monitoring of the temperature in the coffin. ACS investigated possible sites for burial, and consulted geologists at the University of Alaska and obtained many of their publications on the subject of permafrost. However they do point out that permafrost burial in the hope of reanimation by future science is controversial amongst cryonicists. "We simply don't know enough to say whether permafrost burial offers real hope or is simply a waste of money." they say, "We should not, however, make the mistake made by the Federal Drug Administration and deny patients controversial treatment on the basis that the treatment has not been fully tested."
Canadian Cryonics Society PO Box 788 Station A Toronto Ontario Canada M5W 1G3 American Cryonics Society PO Box 761 Cupertino California 95015 USA
by Ben Best, BSc, BBA (Cryonics Society of Canada)
The idea of cryonics, freezing of the dead in anticipation of future reanimation, has been around for quite a few years. Only recently, however, has there been a substantial increase in the number of people seeking to apply this idea in practice. If this trend continues and accelerates, funeral directors may find themselves increasingly called-upon to assist cryonic suspension teams in picking-up the deceased at a hospital, signing necessary forms, and using a funeral home preparation room for blood washout, packing in ice or making arrangements for shipment. Understanding how cryonicists view life and death can assist funeral directors in dealing with these kinds of requests. THE MEANING OF DEATH
From a legal standpoint, the definition of death is fairly straightforward: it is the condition of a person after a physician has signed a death certificate. The scientific definition, however, has undergone some changes in recent years. Historically, clinical death was defined in terms of the absence of heartbeat and absence of breathing. Respirators, pacemakers and other sophisticated life-support apparatus have made former definitions obsolete, however. Death would currently more likely be defined in terms of some degree of cellular degeneration (particularly in the brain), which is deemed irreversible. This definition is not so clear-cut as the old one. In particular, it leaves open the question of reversibility: will certain irreversible changes, with current medicine, be reversible by future medicine?
CAN DEATH BE STOPPED?
This question has been most forcefully posed by MIT scientist K. Eric Drexler's book Engines of Creation1 (discussed in the Technology section of the 20 NOV 89 issue of Time magazine). Drexler has taken the current trend towards micronization to an astonishing conclusion: self-replicating machines on an atomic level. Such machines could assemble, atom-by-atom, materials of extraordinary strength, foods and tiny computers. Nanotechnology (nano = billionth, as in nanometre) also offers the prospect of repairing all cellular damage due to disease and aging.
These conceptions may be difficult even for science fiction buffs to grasp or believe. But if the growth in wealth and technology in the last 200 years can be projected to the next 200 years, such developments are almost inevitable. For many, this is a very big "if", but for others, it is something worth preparing for. If nanotechnology can produce eternal youth by DNA-repair machines, it can probably also repair cellular ice-crystal damage. Thus, people frozen today at liquid nitrogen temperatures and held in storage may someday be restored to life - free of the effects of freezing, disease and aging. This is the fundamental premise of the cryonics movement.
THE CRYONICS MOVEMENT
In 1967, a California cryonics organization called Cryonic Interment placed the first person in suspension who is still in suspension, a professor James Bedford. Robert Nelson, the principle organizer, ultimately froze a total of 10 persons, placed them in storage and received a fair amount of money for this. Because of financial mismanagement, Nelson could not maintain his corpses in a frozen state, and allowed them to thaw (hidden in an underground crypt which he would not allow others to inspect). He maintained a fraudulent facade until he was exposed and sued.2 Since then, cryonicists have had to struggle against the tarnished image Nelson left. Recently, a Federation of Cryonics Societies has been created to establish professional standards.
Currently, about 25 people are suspended in liquid nitrogen by three American cryonics organizations: Alcor, Trans Time and the Cryonics Institute. Most of the people involved in these organizations are keenly idealistic and hopeful of creating immortality for themselves and their loved-ones. Alcor in particular is well-financed, and maintains a modern facility open for inspection by interested persons.
Needless to say, governmental bureaucracies and established legal procedures for dealing with the dead have not made life or death easy for cryonicists. Alcor, especially, has had to conduct legal battles with hospitals, the California Department of Health Services and the Riverside County Coroner's Office, among others. So far, it has not yet lost a legal contest, though it has been forced to compromise.
Because of the legal complications involved in freezing people whose families have sought cryonics during a state of emotional upset, cryonics organizations maintain a policy of only suspending members who have made arrangements prior to death.3 The involvement of funeral directors in cryonics could allow for non-member suspensions.
CRYONICISTS AND FUNERAL DIRECTORS
Cryonicists are not seeking to be in competition with funeral directors or cemeteries. On the contrary, cryonicists are eager for co-operation and eventual co-optation into the Establishment. Funeral directors could be of great assistance in taking possession of corpses from hospitals and maintaining them at low temperature, in preparation for liquid nitrogen suspension. Cemeteries could one day offer a menu of services that include cremation, conventional burial, and cryonic suspension -- based on individual preferences of the deceased.
Currently, suspension of a whole body costs4 up to US$100,000. Careful perfusion with cryoprotectants such as glycerol (to minimize ice crystal damage) accounts for much of the cost. Liquid nitrogen boil-off amounts to US$700 to US$1,000 per year. By freezing just the head (in the belief that cloning the rest of the body should not be difficult), suspension costs are reduced to US$35,000. These costs are most frequently financed by life insurance policies.
Others are looking for more low-cost options. Substances such as glutaraldehyde, which are of use in the chemical fixation of biological tissue specimens, may be the key to preserving human remains at above-freezing temperatures in anticipation of the Age of Nanotechnology. Embalming could take on a new role.
There should be plenty of time to prepare for these changes. In December 1988, Alcor had 111 members who had made arrangements to be suspended upon death. A year later, there were 145 such members5. At this rate of growth, it would be 2010 AD before 40,000 people had made Alcor arrangements. But as publicity increases, legal problems are solved and membership procedures become simplified, growth rates should accelerate. The number of persons in Canada who are presently signed-up to be frozen upon death is less than ten. The Cryonics Society of Canada is a small educational organization with no suspension capabilities. In the Spring of 1988 we enlisted the support of the funeral director in Inuvik, NWT, for the permafrost burial of the father of a New Jersey man. We are still studying the permafrost burial option very carefully. We have also been eagerly awaiting the new Funeral Services Act provisions, which allow for shipping a non-embalmed (frozen) body out of the Province of Ontario.
Persons interested in further reading about cryonics should consult Living Longer, Growing Younger1 by Paul Segall, PhD, or the introductory booklet Threshold to Tomorrow (available for US$5.00 from Alcor; 12327 Doherty Street; Riverside, Calif. 92503 USA). The Cryonics Society of Canada (Box 788 Station A; Toronto, Ontario M5W 1G3 Canada) publishes Canadian Cryonics News quarterly with a subscription fee of $10/year. Also, the author of this article is available for questions: Ben Best (416) 369-4524 (days). About the Author
Ben Best,BSc.,BBA, has degrees in physics, computing science and finance. He is a Director of the Cryonics Society of Canada and works as a computer programmer in the investment industry.
Additional Notes by John de Rivaz (Longevity Books)
This article was first published in Canadian Funeral Director February 1990, and reprinted by permission of the author.
1. Available from Longevity Books - see advertisement. 2. The legal punishment was for not placing people in cryonic suspension after contracting so to do. Many articles written about this imply that Mr Nelson was punished for suspending people. 3. Since this article was written, all the cryonics societies have revoked this policy. However higher charges are levied on those who were not signed up before death. See Funeral Service Journal July 1989, page 55, June 1990, page 45 and December 1990 page 52. 4. These costs are for Alcor, now raised further. The Cryonics Institute still charges $28,000. (24443, Roanoke, Oak Park, Michigan 48237, USA.) See Funeral Service Journal November 1990 page 21. 5. As of November 1991 Alcor has 19 members in suspension, with 267 signed up for suspension, and 451 Associate Members, including 186 going through the legal process of signing up for suspension.
Before cryonic suspension became quite as well known as it is today, there have been many attempts by wealthy and individualistic people to arrange their own suspensions with purpose made organisations. A persistent but false rumour exists that Walt Disney did this, and until the fall of Communism it was incorrectly believed by many that Russian leaders were preserved in this manner.
In a recent issue of The Immortalist, the journal of The Immortalist Society, it was suggested, in the section authored and edited by the American Cryonics Society, that the extreme individualism of the concept of cryonics made it a natural sequitur that many people interested would want to go it alone. However they cautioned that many such attempts in the past have met with failure, and not surprisingly they urge that people join one of the existing organisations. Of course there are a number of satellite organisations surrounding the cryonics groups themselves. The most successful of these is probably the Venturists. It started out as an attempt at a cryonics religion, but they seemed to have dropped that idea now (except in a legal sense) and act more as a care and advice centre. Of course my own Longevity Books and its associated newsletter Longevity Report is another example of a satellite organisation.
One new idea that did come up was that of a cryonics franchise. The concept of franchising has seen a substantial growth in the past years. For example funeral director United Dignity Inc, of Tennessee is a US franchise network that offers the public a dignified but inexpensive funeral service.
Franchising is often used in industries where the product or service is relatively new, fulfils a definite need, is in need of growth capital, and whose present potential is limited geographically. It has been described as the most important innovation since the idea of the corporation being distinct from the individual, first introduced in the Roman Empire. The concept of the corporation disappeared for some while after the fall of the Roman Empire. It re-appeared after the middle ages when the concept of unlimited liability for business partners made it increasing difficult to raise capital for industries emerging during the industrial revolution.
To start with the cryonics franchiser would provide considerable back up to its young satellites, but once the service was underway the franchise would ensure a uniformity of quality and standards that the public could learn to trust. Expertise could be shared between the franchisees, and the existence of different storage facilities around the world would have many advantages for the movement.
If a government, such as that of British Columbia in Canada, decided that it was not appropriate for its citizens to have the freedom to choose this treatment upon their death, any patients already in suspension in such areas could be removed to free countries. At the present time, because all storage facilities exist within the United States, if there was a federal law enacted against cryonics, then the organisations would have to set up facilities overseas in a very short time, coupled with the difficulties of getting their patients out of the country. If facilities exist overseas, then at least they can concentrate their time on the move.
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A good riposte
In a recent chat show, Mr Mike Darwin of Alcor was asked why people should tie up their resources upon death in preserving their own bodies in the hope of future revival when these resources would be much better spent aiding the poorer people of the world.
Mr Darwin replied that if people in the rich countries really felt a desire to help the poorer nations, then they have enough money now to do this: simply by giving up holidays, luxury cars, eating out, drinking and smoking etc. He felt it entirely inappropriate that they should carry on with luxuries yet require him to surrender his life to aid the poor. This argument meet with jeers and hisses from the audience, but there was no logical counter argument presented. [Of course there is no logical counter argument: the jeers and hisses are similar to the way the loser of a fight accuses the winner of using "cowardly methods".]
by Chrissie Loveday
The deep-freezing of a fertilised human egg, and thawing it for implantation? Futuristic? For science fiction? No. It is fact. So why not freeze larger objects and restore them at some time in the future? The concept of cryonic suspension was first introduced to me recently. My initial reaction was to smile and remember Star Trek. I was provided with some information which included photographs of capsules with some strange looking dark shapes inside that may or may not have been human. I felt disturbed and perhaps even slightly sickened by the whole idea. It was rather like a horror movie. I dismissed the article and thought the sender was obviously some nutty crank. A couple of days later, I found the pictures again ... under the bed. With a second glance, as I picked it up, I could see that the human inside his time capsule did not look threatening at all. It actually looked a darned sight better than most interred bodies look even days after burial, if the late-night movies are to be believed.
"I'm supposed to have an open mind," I reminded myself. I requested more information and was presented with a book1 to read. I understood that this book was some years old but nevertheless, something of a bible to cryonicists. I thought again about the recent strides in freezing embryos and sperm and suddenly it didn't sound quite so cranky. I requested still more information. More articles followed, some of which raised many of the points I had been struggling with. Suppose after all that effort and expense, the body was reanimated and there was cell damage to the brain?2 Surely there are enough damaged people around in the world, without some weirdo adding to it. Of course there are no real answers to this type of question. It hasn't been done yet, because science hasn't yet made this type of progress.3
I began to think long and hard about the prospect. My next series of reactions was the basically maternal one. How on earth would I feel if I had been revived 50 years after my sons had expired?4 They are currently young men in the prime of life and the thought of them being in the past seemed somewhat abhorrent to me. This led on to a new train of thoughts. Whatever changes have taken place in the last fifty years will surely be made to look insignificant by the next batch. It would be like landing on an alien planet. I perhaps reached a turning point, when I read yet another article, telling the story of Arlene Fried. The loving care and attention that was put into her preservation made the whole idea so much more humane and acceptable. The professional approach made by her medical specialists seemed to be continuing treatment even after the cause had become apparently hopeless. Where am I now in my thought process? I still have many doubts about the possible success of the concept, but can I afford to dismiss it and possibly miss out on a second chance of living?
(reprinted from Longevity Report April 1992)
Notes by John de Rivaz, (Longevity Books).
1. The book concerned was one of the old copies of Prospect of Immortality which we sell for £3 post paid.
2. Of course nothing in the world is perfectly safe, but it is a reasonable supposition that people will not be revived unless their brains can function normally. There would indeed be no point in adding weirdos to the world. 3. The whole point of cryonics is that although present science can't revive people, it doesn't need to, because it is future science that we rely on. 4. Once one person signs up for suspension, there is nothing to stop others in the same family following the example.
Previous articles in Funeral Service Journal have indicated that the profession of pathologist is distinctly hostile to cryonic suspension. However this viewpoint must change with a recent suspension performed by the American Cryonics Society.
Susan White, 73, is the mother of Jerry White, of the American Cryonics Society. In December 1991 she learned that she was gravely ill with lung cancer, but had no plans for suspension and intended to be buried. There was no life insurance or sum of money available for whole body or even neurosuspension. Dr White consulted with the president and directors of the American Cryonics Society and agreed on a project to suspend just his mother's brain. His sister, as next of kin, agreed to the project but by that time his mother was to ill for further consultation. She had arranged to perish at home, and was under direct medical supervision with live-in nursing care.
Jim Yount and Jerry White visited the attending mortuary, who agreed to provide any needed facilities for perfusion and removal of the brain, assuming that the appropriate medical and legal requirements were met. But they were not able to see a pathologist when they first visited the mortuary's recommended pathology clinic. However an assistant from there visited them later that day and agreed to help as needed.
When Mrs White had been declared dead, Dr White filled a pillowcase with ice cubes he had been preparing during the day, arranged it around her head and applied CPR until the mortuary personnel arrived. After Mrs White was removed to the mortuary, the embalmer cannulated her jugular and carotid, and perfused the head using Ringer's solution and heparin, with a standard embalming machine. She was then placed in the cold room at 32-35oF. When Jim Yount arrived from ACS, he perfused her with 12 litres of Ringer's and then cryoprotected with five two litre portions of BioTime perfusate, in increasing concentrations.
By 8.40 the following morning, they had enlisted the aid of the local pathologist. Dr White signed forms holding the mortuary harmless and authorising the pathologist to proceed. He incised and separated Mrs White's scalp to expose her skull, from which he detached a segment shaped portion. He then removed her brain which seemed to be in good condition.
It was placed in a plastic dish filled with cryoprotectant which was then topped off with cryoprotectant and covered with a lid. This was then placed in a larger vessel, nestling in crushed ice. This was then removed to the cryonics facility, where it was be cooled to liquid nitrogen temperature over a period of about six weeks.
Suspension of just the brain is a procedure that will find more favour with the medical authorities than freezing bodies or just heads. They are more familiar with freezing organs. Also, it leaves a perfectly sound looking body for conventional funeral practices if that is what some members of the deceased's family require.
Of course the arguments for revival of the brain in a new body are the same as those for the revival of a person who has just had their head preserved. A new body could in theory be grown without a brain using the data that is stored in every cell of the original. Of course present day science can't do it, but there is nothing to say that future science won't have the ability.
The procedures used by cryonicists are many and varied. Only time will tell what will become the norm.
By Douglas Skrecky
David Hanson, the funeral director for Inuvik, N.W.T., Canada has been swamped with inquiries about permafrost burial. Most of these calls come not from cryonicists but instead from relatives of the deceased who wish to preserve the body of their loved ones in glass capsules for viewing. Pending the resolution of Indian land claims David plans on expanding his business in this area by building subterranean viewing areas deep in the permafrost.1 There appears to be no reason why similar facilities would not be profitable in more hospitable latitudes. By substituting preservation by desiccation instead of freezing the requirement for permafrost can be eliminated. Although a vacuum is currently used for freeze-drying small pets the much more costly apparatus needed for human scale vacuum desiccation would not be economically feasible as it would compete with much less expensive air-drying techniques. An example of such a technique would be to pump all cardiovascular fluids out of the body with air pressurized sufficiently to prevent the arteries and veins from collapsing after they have been evacuated. After the body is frozen dry air could be circulated continuously through the cardiovascular system till the all of the ice in the tissues is sublimated. Since the surface area of this system is over 300 times that of the external body surface area the time required to complete such "internal" desiccation would be measured in hours, not days or weeks as with "conventional" freeze-drying techniques. The most economical method for dehumidifying cold air involves blowing the air over a bed of renewable desiccants such as activated alumina or silica gel.2 In order to maintain as lifelike an appearance as possible the body should be perfused with antibrowning agents such as sucrose, citric acid and vitamin C before freezing. Desiccation appears to be the only preservation technique capable of halting tissue deterioration indefinitely. Even after 120 years of storage sugar stabilized rotifers and tardigrades were still capable of being revived after being moistened.3 For reanimation of preserved corpses to be possible only a limited amount of tissue damage can be allowed to occur postmortem. Citric acid prevents autolysis due to calcium activated neutral proteases by binding with calcium ions. Transplant organs seem to maintain a degree of viability for several days when sugar based flushing solutions are used. However the best flushing solutions incorporate a higher molecular weight osmoticum which does not penetrate cells. This is believed to prevent the rupture of cellular lysosomes which then can liberate the non-calcium dependant enzymes which cause tissue necrosis. An inexpensive but state of the art solution has been developed which incorporates citrated salts, hydrolysed starch and a little gelatin.4 To protect against desiccation induced damage sucrose would need to be added to this solution to replace some of the hydrolysed starch. To further minimize tissue damage freezing should be avoided as the growth of intracellular ice crystals usually is sufficiently damaging to be fatal to most cells. If tissue is not frozen prior to desiccation then some tissue shrinkage will occur. There appears to be a trade off between good appearance and cellular viability. What kind of metal casket would be required to protect the desiccated body of the departed cryonicist on its long journey to the distant future? Fortunately the expense of using titanium can be avoided. With recent advances in metallurgy inexpensive but highly corrosion resistant second generation nitrogen alloyed duplex stainless steels such as Ferralium 255 have been developed which remain inert even in seawater.5
1 Canadian Cryonics News 22 Vol.15 1991
2 Selecting Desiccants for Air Dryers 32-35 Sept 1991 Power
3 Death-Defying Dehydration 107-110 Vol.133 1988 Science
4 Preservation of Rabbit Kidneys Using a Solution Containing Hydrolysed Starch 799-804 Vol.52 No.1 1991 Transplantation
5 Duplex Alloy 255 in Marine Applications 63-67 October 1988 Materials Performance
I have recently had correspondence with a gentleman in Bedfordshire who is trying to arrange cryonic suspension for himself and his family. He says that he is having difficulty in finding a funeral director willing to make arrangements that will meet the technical requirements of the chosen cryonics organisation. The difficulty seems to be with the requirements of British airlines with respect to shipping remains to the United States. He is therefore keen to contact any funeral director who has contacts with foreign airlines and who is willing to enter into discussions about cryonic suspension. Intercontinental shipments of remains have been made for cryonics purposes, so the problem is not an insuperable one.
If any reader of Funeral Service Journal is interested, would they please contact me through Longevity Books (see advert near cryonics article for address) initially. It does seem that once expertise is gained in this new field such specialisation could prove worthwhile in the long term.
[1997: This lead to Paul Michaels and family joining the Cryonics Institute. Mr Michaels was later appointed the UK director of CI, and he now regularly flies to Michigan for meetings.]
Many people wonder what is the point in undergoing an expensive procedure involving a lot of patient suffering to achieve a few more years of life of impaired quality. Yet such procedures form the heart of medical treatment for the elderly or severely injured, whether through disease or accident. It is in this atmosphere that on hearing about cryonic suspension they jump to the conclusion that the clients will be revived as old people, only to be kept alive as old people, with all their aches and pains, for a few years only to die again. Or worse - they may be kept alive with their aches and pains for ever.
Last time I mentioned the case involving the couple who jumped to the conclusion that suspended people could be revived in 20 years time. This time, the "jump" goes the other way. I was talking to someone about life extension and cryonics, and he was keen on life extension, and bought some books on vitamins and diet. He seemed interested in cryonics, and despite my cautions about the legal problems seemed to think that it was a viable proposition, although he said it was not for him.
However, later on in the conversation the topic went back to cryonics, and I happened to mention that people would be revived at the peak of health, probably at an apparent age of about 25 years. At this his interest increased considerably, and he bought a copy of Prospect of Immortality and said that he was definitely interested in learning more.
This just goes to show how people can jump to totally false conclusions, and it is necessary to state the obvious, especially with something as alien as cryonics. It sometimes helps to ask what their concepts and ideas are before going too far. In the case of grieving relatives clutching at straws asking about cryonics for the first time, if one can find out what they think it is, it is possible to judge whether the reality is anywhere near what they want.
Recent report in Canadian Cryonics News and Cryonics magazines suggest that the Canadian province of British Columbia is the first legislature in the world to specifically deny its citizens the freedom to chose cryonic suspension for themselves or for a loved one. The Ministry of Labour and Consumer Services was unwilling to give the name of the individual responsible for the legislation to a report from Canadian Cryonics News, (CCN) but the reporter was able to interview a couple of officials on the matter. It appears that the legislation is motivated by both doubts about the efficacy of cryonics from a practical point of view, and more strongly about doubts as to whether society should allow citizens to live beyond a "reasonable" lifespan, supported by technology. Mr David Oliver, a senior research officer, said that there could be no possible harm in a cryonics contract provided that it was spelt out that it is future science that is to perform the revivals, and that such revivals are impossible under present knowledge. Nevertheless he stood by the legislation.
He said that there is no reason why British Columbians shouldn't contract to have their remains removed to California (for example) and be suspended there. However the CCN reporter pointed out that the act even forbade a funeral director packing remains in ice and despatching them to California in exchange for monetary compensation. Mr Oliver replied that interpretation of the Act is up to the Registrar of Cemeteries.
It was not possible for CCN to determine the original author of the legislation, but they theorised that it was some "lowly bureaucrat managing to foist his views on three million people." They stressed the importance of minority groups such as cryonicists keeping a watch on legislation so that they can catch such laws before they pass into the statute books. As an example, they cited the problems with Chiropractic services in the United States. It took seven years of letter writing to the authorities, swamping them with mail from Chiropractors and their supporter, before the legislation was removed.
by Chrissie Loveday (With foreword by John de Rivaz)
The debate on whether people should be allowed to die peacefully or should be given every last bit of surgical treatment to enable them hang on to every femtosecond of life is likely to be well known by all Funeral Directors. Funeral Directors will have faced many instances of people mutilated by futile surgery passing into their hand for the Last Rites.
Longevity Books sell a hardbacked book If We Could Keep a Severed Head Alive for £10. (post free - see advertisement for address.) The purpose of this book is to warn people where surgery and medicine as practised by the establishment is leading - to more and more horrific operations just to provide a few short weeks of extra life, of very low quality. Many people confuse the cryonics movement with this approach. Cryonics aims to place and keep the patient in an unconscious state until a full quality life is available. Here, in an article reprinted from Longevity Report, Chrissie Loveday tells of her own experiences with a terminal patient subjected to unwelcome medical attention by the authorities at the end of her life.
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She was, indeed, a brave lady. I knew her for over thirty years and would never have believed I could wish she would die. I did. I saw her health deteriorate over a period of years, until the time came when I really wished she could be relieved of her suffering.
When I first met her, Elaine was a lively, energetic lady, into horses, badminton, you name it. Her energy made me feel breathless at times and I found it difficult to keep up with this lady, thirty years my senior. She developed problems with circulation, later diagnosed as being caused by smoking. The final consequence was the amputation of her right leg. I found it hard to keep cheerful and to make the right encouraging noises, but somehow she came through and at the age of seventy -five, learned to walk again, using sticks and an artificial limb. I shall never forget the moment in that hospital, when she walked across the gym and the physiotherapist and doctor agreed that she should be fitted with her leg. I know I wept inside and probably outside became a little damp too. She sold her cottage and bought a "sheltered" apartment, where she was able to look after herself, with minimum help. Endless trips to hospitals and physiotherapy came between spells of positive achievement, when she managed to accomplish much that we had all thought may be out of her reach. Some things were always difficult and she suffered great pain, especially in the missing limb, a very common feature with amputees.
Following her eightieth birthday, Elaine became impatient with the available lack of relief from pain and she began seeking further help from anyone who offered the least encouragement. She had private consultations with several doctors and other practitioners of alternative medicine. Finally she was admitted to hospital, insisting that someone must do something. I truly believe she was reaching the end of her tether and was no longer able to maintain her independence. An arterial bypass was carried out in her remaining leg. It failed and further attempts were made to repair this. The effects of pain and drugs made her mind very confused and she became a very different lady, to the one I knew so well. A second amputation became inevitable. She was more rational by this time and talked of how she would cope when she came home. She was making plans about residential nurses and still hoped to live in her flat. The primary health care team were very supportive and she had the best of attention. There was even talk of her leaving the hospital and I seriously considered what could happen if she did. One day when I visited, a doctor was giving her treatment, which was obviously painful but, she insisted, vital. Elaine's voice became strong as she said,
"What would happen if I refused this? Would I die?"
The doctor looked embarrassed and did not reply. Instead, she continued to insert the drip. Elaine asked me if I could understand how she felt. Of course I did and said so. A couple of days later, I received a call to get to the hospital as soon as possible as she had deteriorated dramatically. I drove there as fast as possible and to my horror found that she had been subjected to further surgery ... the remaining stump had been removed. The ward sister told me that she had collapsed under the anaesthetic and been revived twice. They had finally performed a tracheotomy and she was breathing through the tube left there. She also had on an oxygen mask, which was causing great distress. Pause and think. Here is a lady who has said she does not want more treatment. She specifically said that she did want to be revived if she were to die during the operation ... her fifth in three weeks, at the age of eighty one. The ward sister was, herself, devastated at the treatment. I spent the night talking to Elaine. She had regained consciousness and was quite lucid. She could not understand why her neck was so sore. She kept trying to pull off the oxygen mask and at last the sister agreed that it was doing no good and that she should be allowed to be as comfortable as possible.
I returned the next night and had a comfortable chat with Elaine. She calmly told me that she had ordered all drips removed, except for one providing heavy pain killers and said she wanted no more food. She would, however, like a last whisky and dry ginger with me. I never felt a moment's sorrow at this point and I agreed that she had made the right decision. She seemed comforted that I agreed with her and did not try to chivvy her. I gained permission from sister for the drinks. She felt that Elaine's last hours should be spent as she wanted. At last, she was a person with rights, not a patient who must be treated, regardless of the cost.
The questions remain with me. Why did so much extra pain have to be inflicted on someone who was obviously not going to recover? Why, oh why was she revived when she specifically asked not be? Why did she have to undergo a tracheotomy, to continue for just a few more days? Why do hospitals continue to spend vast resources on patients who finally reach a point beyond help? I have only praise for those directly involved with her daily care. The surgeons would not even listen to them. Is this the correct interpretation of the Hippocratic oath?
The Cryonics Institute is the oldest cryonics organisation. It was founded by Robert Ettinger in 1976 together with a group of long-time cryonicists who felt the need of an organisation to provide reliable cryonic suspension services at reasonable cost. Volunteer labour and growing self-sufficiency are used to keep costs down, and reliability is maximised by conservative fiscal policies and by encouraging people to join before death. However the Cryonics Institute will suspend people who are not members, but only after careful consideration of the case and for a surcharge of $7,000. The cost of joining is $1,250, and the sum required for the suspension is $28,000. ($35,000 for non-members.) The Cryonics Institute owns its properties free and clear of any debt, and has a policy of never getting into debt.
When applying for suspension, clients are asked to sign a contract which lawyers and similar people may find disturbing, but it is written with the security of the Cryonics Institute in mind. Translated into common sense language it simply says that the Cryonics Institute will use its best efforts to place the client in suspension and keep him in that condition and rejuvenate then revive him when it is possible to do so. In fact the Institute has excused itself from any legal action should its best efforts fail. This has disturbed some people, but the Cryonics Institute point out that whatever is said in a contract in reality it is impossible for anyone to do more than their best efforts. If Institute money was to be spent on lawsuits every time anything goes wrong, soon all the clients would be thawed and buried because the Institute's funds would have been redistributed to members of the legal profession. So although the contract appears to give the client little redress should anything go wrong, as far as the clients taken as a group it is the best deal they could be offered.
Of course clients then have to decide for themselves whether the Cryonics Institute's best efforts are good enough. They need to look at the Cryonics Institute's history, charter, bye-laws, policies, assets and liabilities. The Cryonics Institute believe that most prospective members will find these encouraging.
Longevity Books have had the Cryonics Institute's 20 page booklet A Few Minutes Now Could Save Your Life Tomorrow reprinted and will send copies to funeral directors on request. They could be left in waiting rooms with other leaflets for clients to read, and/or held in readiness for enquiries. Discussions are taking place with remains removal firms to enable the Cryonics Institute to offer to clients a complete service including transportation. The membership fee is a one-time payment of $1,250 (£660) or $1,875 for a couple. (£990), and the suspension cost is as previously stated $28,000 (£14,750) per person. On top of this must be added the transportation costs, and these will rise each year with inflation. It may be possible to fix these with a funeral prepayment plan, or alternatively an overpayment can be made to the Cryonics Institute and they will settle the bill. There may be VAT advantages in doing it the second way.
If clients have funds available, the best and most flexible way to fund their suspension is with a trust containing dollar denominated equities (shares in incorporated companies) naming the Cryonics Institute the beneficiary. As equity values rise long term, there is every likelihood that the value of the trust will rise sufficiently to keep up with rises in transportation costs. As there is no insurance element involved, the only fees payable are those to the stockbroker holding the account. But as equities can go down as well as up, there should be sufficient extra funds in the account to allow for the possibility that the market could be low when the funds are required.
If such funds are not available, then clients can achieve their objectives by taking out whole life insurance policies. The cost expressed as a monthly payment is no more than that spent by many people on things such as eating out, smoking, drinking, holidays etc. However in the long terms costs are higher because the insurable risk must be paid for and there are an additional set of professional fees included in the policy costs. Although the Cryonics Institute does not plan to increase its price, its agreement does allow it the possibility, and as stated earlier the transportation costs will rise with inflation. The only way to protect against this is to take out more insurance at the start than is strictly needed. This is because when insurance policies are upgraded the additional premiums are related to the age of the client at the time of upgrade rather than when the policy was started.
A further alternative exists, which is particularly suitable for older people who have funds available. That is to pre-pay the Cryonics Institute. They do, of course, lose any further growth in the money that could be obtained by equity investment, but if they are old this may not be that much anyway. But they also avoid the risk of a fall in the market and also a rise in the fee. For free copies of A Few Minutes Now Could Save Your Life Tomorrow, please write to Longevity Books, West Towan House, Porthtowan, Truro, Cornwall TR4 8AX, stating how many you require. Please note that if you have had photocopied versions before it is worthwhile to write again and ask for these printed ones instead - they are of much better presentation.
To many people, especially those who haven't given the subject of cryonic suspension very serious thought, cryonicists are fools who have been duped of large sums of money as a result of their beliefs. Therefore there are many people who see them as fair game as a further source of easy income. In order to prevent this, the cryonics organisations still prefer people to sign up for cryonic suspension before they are dead, and indeed whilst they are still in good health and under no pressure. The purpose of signing up, is not just the suspension contract itself, but the peripheral documents that make it more difficult for other people seeking money to overturn the suspension arrangements.
A case in point is the Last Will and Testament. Theoretically no Will is necessary for someone to have cryonic suspension, because all the financial aspects are dealt with separately, as previously discussed in this column. However, people who are introduced to cryonics later in life often have Wills in existence, and may forget about them and not make their wishes clear. An example of this is known as the Pilgeram Case. Cynthia Anne Pilgeram, a 60 year old woman who died of cancer, was suspended by Alcor in May, 1990. She and her husband, who had been a scientific consultant for cryonics organisations in the 1960s, were in the signup process, but had not completed the large amount of paperwork required by Alcor.
After her suspension, her sister, Sharon Fields, and her lawyer have found a photocopy of an early will made by Mrs Pilgeram in which she said she wanted a Christian Burial. Ms Fields was described by Venturist Monthly News as "a rabid opponent of cryonics", and pressured Ms Pilgeram to include the "Christian Burial" clause in her will.
Normally in American law photocopies of wills are not valid, and wills are regarded as revoked if the original cannot be found. In addition, Mrs Pilgeram had executed other documents that overturned portions of her will. However Ms Fields' lawyer managed to get a court to agree to probate the photocopied will and order that Mrs Pilgeram be removed form suspension to rot in a grave. Mr Pilgeram is devastated by the "prospect of his wife's being horribly and needlessly sacrificed" as Venturist Monthly News put it, and has appealed the decision to "kill" his wife. The word "kill" only becomes accurate when the first people are revived from suspension, before then it is conjecture. The best way of looking at it is if an ambulance with a seriously injured person on the point of death is prevented from getting to hospital and the person allowed to die. Did they die because of the interference, or was death inevitable, ie from the injury? The difficulty arises because in order to be legal cryonic suspension has to be performed after death as defined by law. Cryonicists say that death means "irrecoverable by medical science". It is a known fact that as science advances previously hopeless cases can be recovered to an active independent life, therefore they suggest that there is a high probability that future science will be able to restore those they freeze, repairing both the freezing damage and whatever killed them.
The court of appeal will also have to discuss matters such as whether Mrs Pilgeram's husband destroyed her Will not Mrs Pilgeram herself. Did her husband apply undue pressure to persuade her to have cryonics? Dr Mike Perry, of the Society for Venturism, said that there was "reasonable doubt" Mrs Pilgeram wanted her body disposed of in a way that would preclude any chance of eventual reanimation. However this action is a civil one, not a criminal one. Therefore under American law the decision is based on "preponderance of evidence" not "absence of reasonable doubt".
According to the Venturists, typical attorney fees in America are a retainer of $7,500, plus $250 per hour. Attorneys must love cases like this.
by Chrissie Loveday
Does everyone ask this question? I said some months ago that my initial thoughts were those of revulsion.1 I read more and thought a lot more and decided that it wasn't all some Sci-Fi exercise for the fans. My thinking was along the lines of "what is there to lose?" Can I afford to reject any opportunity? Strange really, as there was a time, not so long ago, that I didn't really care whether I had any more life or not. I've got over that temporary blip and daily wonder how I shall ever manage to get everything done that I want to do.
My next train of thought leads me to ask the question, am I worth preserving? I trust that my nearest and dearest would say YES ... without hesitation2 ... but I have to consider whether I think it is all worthwhile, what would I do with my time. I have spent many years in education. I am quite disillusioned with mainstream teaching. Trying to force the unwilling to reach the unattainable was my final definition. All those years of training and experience, down the drain ... wasted. I seem to have heard the same thing said by a number of ex-teachers and Radio and Television programmes echo the thoughts. This is but one instance of changes in professions.
"Finished at forty", is often heard these days. The youngsters in the office can't wait for the "oldsters" to make mistakes and earn their gratitude by leaving. Make room for the modern innovations ... let's get the new ideas working. So, are there not enough semi-redundant people around? Why should we consider cryonic suspension to save a whole new collection of "oldies" to one day, prevent the new modern progress? Could it be that old skills could one day be new skills? Perhaps reading will be phased out in the way that mental arithmetic gave way to calculators. Just imagine the thrill, some time in the future, after re-animation, of being the only person on Earth able read and interpret the collection of printed material held in museums!
I like to think that I am open-minded. I want to hear what the new ideas are. I don't want to follow them all, in the same way that I don't want to wear all the new fashions. But I don't want to stay with the laundering and labours involved in the old ways. I want to incorporate new ideas and retain the old ideas that work ... remain open-minded. Modern curriculum in school encourages students to think for themselves, in a guided way, of course. I'm still old-fashioned enough to believe that you have to know real facts before you can begin to think for yourself ... to think original thought ... but I remain open-minded about that.
There are an awful lot of new lives being born. We have an over-crowded planet and something has to be done to limit this growth. There seems to be an awful lot of wastage taking place at this particular time. There are still many countries where new life is great numbers ensures at least some chance of prolonging the parent's lives. Will the human race always procreate in this way? Brave New World made some alternative suggestions and somehow I can't help feeling that recent "advances" are heading that way. If we live longer, will we want as many children in the future? I must admit, I couldn't have managed without any of my three, but will it be that way for everyone in the future? One of my three does not consider the world a suitable place for any more children to be born and has said he doesn't want to be a father. He may change, admittedly, but this could become more common-place. We used to think of our "allotted span" ... three score years and ten wasn't it? That needs updating, surely? I know lots of folk over that ... it surely shouldn't be limited. None of the people I know consider they are living on borrowed time. "Old-age is intolerable, until you think of the alternative" - said the always quotable Oscar Wilde, and "Youth is seldom appreciated by the young" gives the same sort of idea. Perhaps cryonic suspension could solve both problems. Whether anyone else thinks I'm worth preserving becomes irrelevant, if I want to accept the concept, it's my own decision.
1 A Mother's Initial Thoughts on Cryonics Chrissie Loveday, Funeral Service Journal April 1992 page 31
Note by John de Rivaz (Longevity Books)
2 Many cryonics case histories show that nearest and dearest often say "no" - they'd rather have the funds that would have been spent on suspension for themselves.
Everyone must know by now that cryonic suspension is an American idea conceived during the last days of World War II and first implemented in the 1960s. However an article in New Scientist (29 August) has revealed that Americans were burying people with at least a desire to preserve the remains indefinitely, as long ago as the 1680s.
In 1989 a ground penetrating radar discovered three lead coffins beneath the ruins of a colonial church in Maryland. Lead coffins were extremely rare in colonial America, owing to their high cost. Only two others have been discovered, and they were opened in the 1700s. One of these two was hermetically sealed, and the body was found to be perfectly preserved when it was opened. No doubt the remains soon disintegrated upon exposure to the air. The coffins found in 1989 should be hermetically sealed, and if they are, according to New Scientist1 (29 August 1992) the bodies will be perfectly preserved. A project has received funding of half a million dollars to investigate these coffins. However the people inside and their environment is to be disturbed far less than the discovery in the 1700s. Air will be extracted and replaced with argon, an inert gas. The air will be examined in order to determine the constituents of the atmosphere in the 1600s. This will be of particular interest with regards to discovering the impact of man and pollution on the Earth.
The interior of the coffins will be examined with a fibre optic probe, and possibly tissue samples will be taken. However great care will be taken not to disturb the remains or to let fresh air get to them. Thus they will continue to lie undamaged. Maybe in the far future they will be recoverable as people, but this will depend on whether there is any tangible evidence of their memories and personalities left in their brains. The chances of this are remote - impossible, say the cryonicists, just as many people say the same thing about the bodies they have frozen.
However, such forms of interment are one step ahead of "rot or burn", and maybe they would provide a degree of hope to clients who cannot afford cryonics or who cannot arrange it for family reasons. Also, if funds permit, one could add in the proposals made by Douglas Skrecky2,3,4,5. Skrecky proposed caskets made of high technology stainless steels and similar materials. Maybe a wood coffin of simple design covered in lead, soldered well enough to be airtight, would do just as well.
1 Coffins Lift the Lid on Atmospheric Change Susan Adkins, New Scientist 29 August 1992, page 7. 2 The New Egyptians Douglas Skrecky, Funeral Service Journal November 1991. 3 The New Egyptians part 2 Douglas Skrecky Funeral Service Journal June 1992. 4 High Speed Dessication Douglas Skrecky Longevity Report 30 page 20 5 Vitrification Douglas Skrecky Longevity Report 35 page 8
by Douglas Skrecky
It sometimes happens that the bereaved may wish that the body of the deceased be preserved rather than cremated or exposed to the elements. Such remains are then placed in a metal casket before burial in order to prevent their deterioration. Unfortunately since embalming does not use a high enough dosage of formaldehyde to sterilize tissue placing embalmed corpses in metal caskets does not in fact preserve them1. Utilizing sufficient formaldehdye to sterilize results in a somewhat unnatural appearence and odour so embalming cannot involve sterilization. Still preserving the body of the deceased is not particularly difficult. All that needs to be done is to store an opened bottle of formaldehyde inside the metal casket so that the fumes eventually do the required job - discreetly.
The other roadblock to long term preservation is corrosion of the metal casket. Highly alloyed stainless steels such as Ferralium 255, SAF 2507 and Remanit 4565S do not corrode even in seawater. Extra long caskets constructed with these alloys and welded rather than soldered shut would probably last longer than the civilization which builds them. These expensive caskets might justify their price tags if the body of the deceased were preserved by complete desiccation with the intent of allowing for a possible resuscitation in the distant future. However what we are seeking here is not resuscitation but merely low cost preservation - for a time - of the body of the deceased and so less expensive materials would be used for casket construction. Long term corrosion studies of metal sheets buried in a variety of underground locations yield average penetration rates of 0.15 millimeter per year for steel, 0.12 mm for zinc, 0.07 mm for lead and 0.02 mm for copper. Aluminum varies considerably, but corrodes as much as steel in some soils2. Neither zinc, lead, copper nor alumininum can justify their price differential over steel on the basis of increased corrosion resistance, although aluminum might be used to advantage in some cases to reduce casket weight and lower shipping costs. In general however steel remains the most cost effective base material for casket construction.
A steel casket that could remain intact for several hundred years would however still be quite expensive as the gauge required would need to be so thick that the price would approach that of bronze caskets. It order to cut costs we need to borrow the expertise from pipeline companies. Faced with the high costs associated with corrosion these companies decided to protect their underground steel pipes from corrosion by encasing them in thick layers of coal tar enamel and running an electrical current through the pipes to galvanically protect them at any breaks in the coating. Such pipes have now been in service with little corrosion for 40 years3. Thus instead of building an expensive heavy gauge steel casket one need only construct a light gauge one and then coat it with a liberal amount of coal tar enamel.
For further increases in durability over simple coal tar coatings we can borrow the expertise of companies charged with protecting steel structures in the oceans. There steel is first coated with zinc, then an adhesive plastic such as epoxy is applied and finally a layer of less permeable and more weather resistent plastic such as polyurethane is used to encase the entire structure4. By sealing a light gauge galvanized steel casket with epoxy inside a slightly larger polyurethane casket we would have constructed a light weight inexpensive barrier system which would likely last for centuries.
1 page 233 of The Provision of Funeral and Cemetary Services in British Columbia by Richard Gosse, Special Consultant to the Minister
2 pages 179-180 of Corrosion and Corrosion Control by Herbert Uhlig
3 Double-Wrap Tape System Adopted for In Situ Recoating 39-43 January 1992 Material Performance
4 Coating Requirements for Offshore Structures 36-40 June 1992 Materials Performance
When people disbelieving in an afterlife wanted to ridicule Jesus, they asked him what would happen if a man marries, his wife dies, and then he marries another. Who will be his wife in heaven? Jesus replied that there is no marriage in heaven. (And probably lawyers won't like it there as a result!) Cryonicists are in a rather different position, and the issue was discussed in Cryonet Digest no 1. This a printed form of conversations carried on via computer bulletin boards about cryonic suspension.
For the wife problem, Mr Keith Henson suggested running off a second copy of the spouse, but later considered some difficulties of this approach. Each copy would still be attracted to both women, but each copy would be able to have only one of them. The result may be even more complicated, especially if both copies of the man preferred the same woman. Mr Kevin Q. Brown suggested that the deceased mate be considered as divorced. Other people discussed whether pair bonding could ever survive the trauma of suspension and reanimation. No one mentioned the problem that if a person was duplicated his wealth would be halved!
Another topic of conversation was nanotechnology, and cooling and heating patients. Edgar Swank produced the interesting suggestion of replacing the liquid circulation during suspension with gas circulation. The question of "life force" was also a matter of debate. People who refute cryonics often say that "the life force" will not survive freezing and thawing. Yet there are four forces known to physics, (nuclear, "weak", electromagnetic, gravity) which account for everything in the universe. "The life force" is as valid as old ideas like "caloric" for heat. This has now been replaced by thermodynamic theory. Even today people have some strange ideas, eg "this damn VCR doesn't want to operate correctly", inherited from a past where a belief in spirits explained such things as the weather or movement of the planets. Modern theories about how machines work suggest that it is not so bad to be "merely" a machine. The concept of a "soul" still has its place - as the program and data contained in the brain. Admittedly this is erased if the brain is allowed to rot or is burned, or cut up by a pathologist. However it can live on if the brain is preserved carefully until such time as it can be restored to life in a new or repaired body.
"Techies" and Luddites were discussed, and the points were raised that millions of people don't know how to program their VCRs, and many people would rather die than sign up for cryonic suspension. Would reanimated people be able to survive in the future? The general consensus seemed to be yes - humans have not changed much despite enormous technical advance. Most people are just confused rather than hostile to advances, and they do manage to use their VCRs and other products as much as they need.
Cryonet Digest is a collection of printed material taken from discussions on an electronic bulletin board on the subject of cryonic suspension. It appears monthly and is available from Charles Platt 9, Patchin Place New York NY10011 at $7 per four issues or $12 for eight issues. Mr Platt likes people to send cash or make cheques payable to Charles Platt.
These discussions often, like real discussions, fail to solve any problems. But one must realise the alternative. First you save your life. That is the main priority. Then you solve the other problems. However these debates often raise issues that may worry people considering cryonics, and often a partial solution may satisfy one person even if it doesn't satisfy everyone. As the number of suspensions are rising quite fast, the officers of cryonic societies don't have the time to enter into correspondence on issues such as the wives problem. Mr Platt's publication fills the gap. Even if you can't join in the discussion on computer bulletin boards, you can write to Cryonet Digest with your query or comment.
* * *
I was gratified by the number of funeral directors who applied for A Few Minutes Now Could Save Your Life Tomorrow the booklet produced by the Cryonics Institute. Good news is that a firm of international funeral directors has taken an interest and visited the Cryonics Institute with a view to setting up a network to enable people living anywhere in Europe to have immediate access to the Cryonics Institute's facilities. This should make it very easy for the small funeral director faced with a client wanting suspension services. Copies of A Few Minutes Now Could Save Your Life Tomorrow are still available free for the asking to any funeral director wanting them for present or future use, from Longevity Books (see advert.)
by Robert Ettinger (Cryonics Institute) and John de Rivaz (Longevity Books)
The problems for a firm of funeral directors assisting in a cryonic suspension for the Cryonics Institute are not really at all so formidable. The Institute's work with out of state funeral directors in the United States indicates the preparation and the actual task are relatively easy. Let us outline the main considerations.
1. Although cardio-pulmonary resuscitation (CPR) is desirable if it can be provided promptly enough, it is at best a marginal consideration. The Cryonics Institute's work with animals, as well as observation of patients, indicates that by far the most important consideration is prompt cooling, washout and perfusion. Also, if personnel are available, it is possible to substitute manual chest compression, together with a bag resuscitator for ventilation, instead of an automated, expensive CPR machine. Lack of a CPR machine is not at all a major consideration. 2. The perfusion pump: An ordinary embalmer's pump has been found to work. To be safe, you can try it on your own machine; the only possible problem would be the viscosity of the cold perfusate, which is basically a 75% glycerine solution at 5oC. (It is even possible, although slow and laborious, to do without a pump, by using a large syringe and repeatedly injecting by hand.) 3. The equipment should be as clean as possible, but need not be surgically sterile. Our fluids will not damage your equipment, which can easily be cleaned out after use by repeated flushing with water. The washout and perfusion are done on open circuit, ie one pass, the fluids not being recirculated but allowed to drain from the patient. 4. The washout fluid is basically a physiological saline with a pH adjustment and sometimes other medications. (Because of possible legal risk, we do not recommend use of prescription medications, although some have been shown to be marginally useful.) The cryoprotectant perfusate is the same plus glycerine, glycerine concentration 75%. Both are preferably used cold, about 5oC as noted. The glycerine should be pharmaceutical grade, and should easily be available in England. Other ingredients should be easily available also, but if desired the Cryonics Institute can ship them to funeral directors. Alternatively a concentrated washout solution can be shipped which can then be diluted with distilled water. 5. Shipment in ice. The shipping container should be insulated with styrofoam or other suitable material, and packed with enough ice (in watertight bags) to ensure some will be left unmelted at the end of the trip. This should be tested beforehand. 6. Shipment (alternatively) in "dry ice" or solid carbon dioxide. Ordinarily the process of freezing and cool-down to dry ice temperature will be done at the Cryonics Institute, where the rate of cooling can be carefully monitored and controlled. But in some cases--e.g. if prompt shipment is not possible for some reason--it may be desired to freeze the patient and use temporary dry ice storage in Europe. In that case, shipment will be in dry ice, and will require better insulation. Again, test the adequacy of insulation before shipping.
CI is not aware of any restriction on shipment in dry ice, and has received patients shipped in dry ice from other countries. However, it is important to check carefully with the airlines--all airlines if there is a transfer en route--to make sure available aircraft can handle the size and weight. In the worst case, if the patient is already at dry ice temperature but shipment in dry ice is not allowed, if no other solution can be found, you could ship the patient in ordinary ice supercooled using dry ice or even liquid nitrogen. Most cases, including difficult ones, can be handled on a common-sense basis according to circumstances and ability. The currently recommended washout and perfusion procedures are as follows. If special circumstances warrant, embalmers should use their own judgment, bearing in mind the main objectives. These are to cool the patient as promptly as possible, wash out the blood and perfuse with glycerine solution. Edema needs to be avoided, and glycerine uptake, especially to the head, needs to be maximised. Glycerine uptake is indicated by shrinkage and colour. For a person of average size 20 litres each of washout solution and glycerine perfusate may be needed. Washout will be ended when the effluent is clear or if edema becomes pronounced.
The patient is packed in ice, or/and cooled by other available means such as a cooling blanket, preferably wherever death occurs, with special attention to the head. Heparin is used as feasible, up to 30,000 units, or 40,000 for a very large person. (The heparin will not do much good unless circulation can be maintained by CPR. If intravenous injection is difficult, peritoneal or other injection may be used. If heparin cannot effectively be introduced otherwise, you may want to add it to the washout solution.) The right and left common carotid artery and the right and left internal jugular vein are used for the washout/perfusion site. The use of these vessels will allow the head to remain packed in ice. The Cryonics Institute washes out first the head then the rest of the body.
The Cryonics Institute use one pass on open circuit ie, first the washout fluid, and later the perfusate go into the artery, and the blood and the other fluids flow out of the jugular vein, to be disposed of in any convenient way. If feasible, it might be helpful to occasionally collect a small vial of effluent, labelling it as to time and stage of procedure. Both arteries are raised and cannulated, and both veins opened. The fluids are injected up the arteries, the left side being washed first then the right. Next the right side is perfused (it is already connected), then the left. A low pressure 5 lb/in2 or less, and a medium rate of flow is used, adjusting as indicated. During and after perfusion the scalp and face appear almost leathery; the glycerine solution draws water out and produces shrinkage, which is desirable. The same observations will be made of limbs and torso, although to a lesser extent.
After the head has been washed out and perfused, it is usually only necessary to inject down the right artery to wash out and perfuse the rest of the body. As already noted, circumstances alter cases, and other sites can be used for injections. But the fewer incisions the better.
No cavity work is done. At the end of the perfusion, the vessels are tied off and sutured. No incision sealant or cotton is used. The fluids should be used cold, about 5oC or 41oF, but if an emergency occurs when no cold solutions are to hand, room temperature ones can be used, as it is still below normal body temperature. That, then, is what the funeral director has to do when offered the opportunity to help someone wanting cryonic suspension. This is more than engaging in some ritual. It is a positive step towards doing something about death and its avoidance. The thought that he may be suspended has given the client some hope during his life, and it will also give those he leaves behind the comfort that they have done something positive about the deceased. Although it is difficult to point the finger at a particular individual and say "Yes, you will be suspended and revived", it is almost certain that some people who are suspended in the 20th century will be revived in the future. Maybe one of you will have played a part in this historic endeavour.
by Douglas Skrecky
Inexpensive grades of low alloy steel may soon be available for casket construction which can match the corrosion resistance of copper, yet be no more expensive than plain low carbon steel. Sound unlikely? Until recently this would have been only a corrosion engineer's pipe dream, but something has happened to change all that. That something is nitrogen.
For years scientists have searched for ways to decrease the corrosion of steel. Very small additions of copper, chromium, molybdenum and nickel have been found to increase the adherence of rust layers to steel during atmospheric exposure and thus protect the iron substrate from further attack. Thus reasonably low cost weathering steels were formulated, which still see considerable use in the construction industry. However with continuous exposure to water in underground or ocean environments the rust layers readily go into solution and little advantage accrues. For instance in seawater alloying additions of 1% chromium, or 0.3% molybdenum only slightly reduce corrosion rates, while modestly higher levels of these elements seem to have little additional effect.1
As zinc preferentially corrodes when in contact with iron, zinc coatings have been used to "galvanically" protect steel. Unfortunately this protection lasts only as long as it takes the zinc coating itself to be completely destroyed. Thus galvanizing inhibits rusting only for about 10 years in underground applications. In an effort to improve on this the communications industry has used clad metals, where a thin layer of an inexpensive grade of stainless steel is sandwiched between two steel sheets. These sheets then galvanically protect the stainless steel from attack until they are destroyed and thus prevent perforation for longer than even a solid stainless steel plate would.2 However this is getting rather expensive.
In a search for more economical alternatives silicon additions to steel have been tried and seawater corrosion rates were indeed found to be reduced by over 99 percent!3 However high silicon iron alloys are very brittle, can only be used as castings and see relatively little use as a result. If a corrosion engineer could patent a method for eliminating the brittleness problem he would undoubtedly become very wealthy in short order. Unfortunately this cannot be done. Silicon is a near miss.
In an effort to increase the corrosion resistance of stainless steels already containing large amounts of chromium and molybdenum, small 0.1%-0.25% amounts of nitrogen were also added.4 The results were so outstanding that virtually all highly alloyed stainless steels now contain nitrogen additions. Recent research has found that larger 0.5%-1.0% additions increase both tensile strength and corrosion resistance to unheard of levels. The temperature at which pitting corrosion occurs has been found to depend upon the chromium content in the alloy, plus 3 times the molybdenum content, plus 30 times the nitrogen content!5
Can nitrogen additions by themselves decrease the corrosion of iron? Apparently this is so, as nitriding iron has been found to reduce corrosion rates by over 99 percent, though brittleness is once again a problem at these high levels of nitrogen.6 Fortunately, unlike silicon, nitrogen does not begin to affect fracture toughness of austenite iron until levels beyond around 1% are reached. Thus both tensile strength and corrosion can be greatly increased without brittleness being a problem provided some nickel or manganese is used to stabilize the austenite microstructure. Like some stainless steels, high nitrogen steel is susceptible to pitting so further alloying additions will be needed to overcome this defect. The addition of a very small 0.07% niobium addition to nitrogen containing stainless steels forms chromium/niobium/nitrides which prevent carbon particles from initiating pitting at grain boundaries.7 Thus small chromium and niobium additions would probably be helpful. A 1% copper addition has also been found to offer some synergism with nitrogen and lowering sulphur levels seems to help as well.8 Finally the addition of manganese increases the solubility of nitrogen in steel.
So now we have a low sulphur high nitrogen manganese steel with small additions of chromium, niobium and copper which would (hopefully) possess the corrosion resistance of copper, yet be no more expensive than low carbon steel since its increased strength would allow less metal to be used. Will this work? Hopefully we won't have to wait much longer to see.
1 85-91 Vol.63 No.2 1992 Steel Research
2 Corrosion Barrier Materials for the Communications Industry 30-33 September 1977 Materials Performance
3 Erosion-Corrosion Behaviour of Some Cast Alloys in Seawater 206-217 Vol.48 No.3 1992 Corrosion
4 The Use of Nitrogen to Improve the Corrosion Resistance of FeCrNiMo Alloys for the Chemical Process Industries 18-28 June 1987 Materials Performance
5 High Nitrogen Stainless Steels in Chloride Solutions 59-61 September 1992 Materials Performance
6 Effect of Nitriding on the Anodic Behaviour of Iron and its Significance in Pitting Corrosion of Iron-Based Alloys 835-839 Vol.47 No.11 1991 Corrosion
7 Effect of Nb on Intergranular Precipitation Behaviour of Cr Carbides in N-bearing Austenitic Stainless Steels 467-474 Vol.48 No.6 1992 Corrosion
8 Crevice Corrosion Resistance of Commercial and High-Purity Experimental Stainless Steels in Marine Environments 574-581 Vol.46 No.7 1990 Corrosion
Following a visit to the USA last year by Mr Barry Albin, F.A. Albin & Sons have been appointed as the Cryonics Institute's agents in the UK and Europe. Although Cryonics Institute clients won't be prohibited from using anyone else, the considerable experience and abilities F.A. Albin & Sons have in the relevant fields would put any competitor to a severe disadvantage. In addition, F.A. Albin & Sons have already built one transport casket to suit the conditions of the Cryonics Institute and the airline involved.
The Albin family have been Funeral Directors for over 200 years. The most recent of the many generations involved in the business is Mr Barry Albin. He heads the company following on from Fred and George who can still be found actively involved in the day to day running of the service. A family team of Barry, Jan, Jackie, Rose, and the two Terrys are always available to help clients.
The present premises were built in 1974 on the former site of the Runge Hall in Culling Road. It was built to serve the local community and has every facility to assist families at the time of bereavement. However they are able to service families on a much wider scale, and on occasions have completed funerals in Scotland, Wales, Ireland and even abroad.
However the fact F.A. Albin & Sons are situated in south east London and this does not by itself solve the problem for people living elsewhere. Therefore they offer an arrangement with local funeral directors who are contacted by people requiring cryonic services. On placing the business through FAA, the local firms will receive 10% of FAA's fee, plus disbursements depending on the work done.
Payment for pre-arranged cryonics can come by a number of different routes. The most favourable from the clients point of view is a trust that pays out upon death to the Cryonics Institute who then make payments to contractors in the UK. The advantage of this to the client is that the client's money is working for him in the best possible way with the minimum of losses to professional fees or low returns. However not everyone can afford trusts, and unfortunately it is these people who have to use the less financially efficient methods such as advance payment, life insurance etc. But the good news for the funeral profession is people making plans for pre-arranged cryonics have to have the money available to the Cryonics Institute without the delays, uncertainties and possible injustices of the probate system, and the Cryonics Institute have the ability to pay funeral directors promptly, unlike lawyers managing estates though the probate system.
Although the cryonics organisations, the Cryonics Institute included, tried hard to get people to sign up in advance, there are many cases being offered where the client is already deceased. The number of these cases is such that it would be bad business and appalling public relations to turn them away. So all cryonics organisations made provisions to accept these cases, but at a higher fee. The fee for the Cryonics Institute is normally $28,000 upon suspension, and $1,250 to sign up. But someone wanting to suspend a deceased person not signed up has to pay $35,000. This is not unreasonable inasmuch as the deceased client has saved time, money and effort by not signing up, and is fortunate in having relatives or friends willing to offer cryonics! The funeral director approached by a client wanting to suspend someone not signed up, has to explain that the fee for suspension is $35,000 and that transport costs will be around £3,000. The money will be required immediately, therefore if the proposer is hoping to be paid by a legacy from the deceased he will have to get a bank loan in the meantime. It is highly unlikely that the solicitors acting for the estate will be willing to clear it quickly to save the proposer bank interest, so the costs will be further increased by a lengthy period of bank interest. If the proposer has no assets himself with which to guarantee the loan, then the bank will charge higher interest or maybe even not provide the loan at all.
As the sums of money involved are orders of magnitude higher than normal funeral expenses, I would advise funeral directors not to get involved with offering a loan themselves. However they could offer the client advice as to who to approach. In this respect funeral directors wishing to be prepared could have a word with their own bank managers to see what their feelings are generally with regard to lending on expectations in a will, with a view to passing on any business that may emerge.
Whilst these negotiations are taking place, the remains have to be treated in a manner suitable for eventual cryonic suspension. Again, this depends on what money the client is able to provide or how much credit the funeral director is willing to offer. The remains can either be treated locally, or ideally transported to F.A. Albin & Sons who have the facilities and experience to maintain them at their premises. The choice will depend on a number of factors, distance being one. If the local funeral director decides to carry out the preliminary procedures himself, then he should still contact F.A. Albin & Sons for the latest advice. This is because if the suspension is going to proceed then F.A. Albin & Sons will in all probability be involved with the intercontinental removal. As a guide to what is involved, the article Practical Cryonics Procedures by Robert Ettinger and John de Rivaz (Funeral Service Journal January 1993) should be consulted.
It may not always be plain sailing if the client is someone who is already signed up for suspension. The most common problem is that the sign up procedure may not be complete as far as peripheral arrangements are concerned, such as the appointment of a local funeral director willing to act. The relatives or friends of the deceased may start phoning various funeral firms at random until one will help. If you are familiar with what is going on and have kept a copy of this article to hand you can say "yes" and get the work. Provided that the Cryonics Institute has been given sufficient money to proceed, then there are no money worries. A phone call to F.A. Albin & Sons will enable contact to be made with the Cryonics Institute and a financial check made before any serious expenditure is involved.
There may also be problems with such matters as autopsy. Voluntary autopsy should always be declined, and in some cases it may be possible to avoid compulsory autopsy by a court injunction. F.A. Albin & Sons have experience of this and can help and advise. If autopsy is unavoidable, then ask the pathologist not to harm the brain. If the brain is removed, then the Cryonics Institute should be consulted as to how to proceed. They may recommend treating the brain separately. Try to get the autopsy delayed until the Cryonics Institute can be informed and get involved with the negotiations. Autopsy in cryonics cases make news both in the cryonics press and in the general press worldwide. It may be in the deceased's best interests to provide as much publicity as possible, including publishing the names of the officials involved - past history has proved this to be correct in the USA. But of course the wishes of the deceased and relations must also be considered in this respect. Coroners and pathologists who act sympathetically in cryonics cases are likely to get public approval. In the USA there was even an instance of a pathologist assisting with a suspension procedure. See Pathologist Aids Brain Suspension, John de Rivaz (Funeral Service Journal July 1992.) Yet in the Dora Kent case the hostile coroner, Raymond Carillo, suffered public ridicule, lost personal money over lawsuits from Alcor, and eventually lost office. Each cryonics case will have its own story and if at all possible it should be written up for Funeral Service Journal so that experience can be built up and shared. This will enable the funeral directors' profession to offer a efficient and sympathetic service to the public.
Mr Barry Albin FA Albin and Sons Arthur Stanley House Culling Road London SE16 2TN
Telephones: 071-237-3637 071-237-2600 071-237-6366
It has been noted that the funeral directors' profession, like any other, has its fair share of conferences and exhibitions. A cryonics presentation has been available for some years, and is presented by a professional lecturer who has been a member of the Institute of Directors. Mr Brian Blair-Giles has considerable experience of cryonics, having founded his own society in the UK in 1969. Although this society never achieved a great following, its influences can be felt to this day in modern cryonics organisations such as Alcor UK Ltd. He was first paid to deliver his lecture in 1976, and it has been updated as the years pass.
Although now semi-retired, Mr Blair-Giles has published 26 books, lectured on cryonics to historians and scientists of three universities and three times to South London College biologists. He has written in Longevity Report 24 and 31, including a report on the European Cryonics Conference in 1990. He was a Member of the Institute of Directors (1980-1982) and advertised in The Director his lecture and some books that were bought by universities. The lecture is evolving as cryonics grows, but recent presentations have encompassed the following: The foundation and a brief history of the cryonics movement, including an attempt to create a European Cryonics Corporation. Summaries of research projects, eg a nearly successful attempt to revive a dog from the frozen state in the USA, refunctioning of cat brains after 7 years at low temperatures in Japan and the revival of a Russian from a clinically dead state.
Future lectures will include preparation procedures for funeral directors and the application of nanotechnology to revivals.
If you are running an exhibition or conference and want to include the latest news on cryonics into your event, then contact Mr Blair Giles at Norbury Hall 55, Craignish Avenue Norbury London SW16 4RW. The lecture is bound to create interest amongst your delegates, whatever their views on the subject of cryonic suspension.
Cryonics is a highly newsworthy subject. If you want press publicity for your event then you should mention the fact that there is to be a cryonics presentation. This will bring additional media interest that otherwise would not be forthcoming. Mr Blair-Giles expects the usual fees and expenses, but these are moderate considering the additional publicity value of his lecture. It is certainly well worth considering this item in the agenda for public events for the funeral profession.
Although speculation in the West had the communist Russians performing all sorts of scientific miracles, the truth was later to be discovered as being very different. Possibly the space exploits gave impetus to the legend that in Russia science was outstripping the West with vast, efficient, centrally controlled projects. Of course now we know that "vast" and "centrally controlled" does not equate with "efficient". Even socialist parties in the West are feeling the pinch as in the fatherland of communism, companies and enterprises for so long privately owned by the government are made public, (ie anyone can buy shares in them) in an operation inaccurately called "privatisation." These inaccurate speculations included rumours that the communist elite had been stored, upon their deaths, in cryonic suspension, to await the advance of Soviet science to restore them to their party posts just as soon as possible. However the reality was very different, as was recently revealed in The Immortalist, the newsletter of The Immortalist Society.
In February 1975 Dr Yuri Pichugin, Ph D, was first acquainted with cryonic suspension. He was watching a broadcast of what passed for news in a government controlled dictatorship. These programmes regularly gave negative information about the U.S.A., and there was a five minute programme on cryonics, introduced as a decadent misuse of science. However Dr Yuri Pichugin saw through the commentary, and his life was changed by what he has seen of the concept and of the Cryonics Institute.
At age 23, and only a fourth year university student, Dr Yuri Pichugin had already mentally become an immortalist. He saw immortalism as being a higher development of humanity, but very few people around him were understanding and sympathetic with his viewpoint. Rather than live a quiet life to be followed by death, he resigned from the Lenin Young Communist League (the Komsomol) with the following letter:
I, Pichugin, Yury Igor, resign from the ranks of the Komsomol. I am not against the organisation and I recognise the necessity and desirability of communism. My resignation is bound up with training for my entry into a party of "World Union of Immortalists".
Dr Pichugin was threatened with expulsion from the university and confinement in the ubiquitous mental institutions for the politically unaligned. However he prevailed, and during the next sixteen years he looked for like minded people and tried to organise a "Union of Immortalists". He wrote a booklet about organising The Immortalist movement, and conceived of a plan for a big book covering all aspects of immortalism. He also produced The Immortalist Manifesto, outlining the philosophy of the movement. He periodically agitated for what he now called anti-mortalism in Moscow, Leningrad, Kiev and other cities. In 1978 he moved to Kharkov to work at the Institute for Cryobiology. As communism started to die in 1986, he distributed his earlier works under the title Project for Organisation of Anti-mortalism and Immortalogy. When the KGB was closed down, he was able to write to cryonicists abroad, but he had to be careful of his colleagues at the Institute of Cryobiology, who like their colleagues in the West, are suspicious of cryonics. He sent three letters to cryonicists, but only one was answered.
However this new link with the East is another step forward in the global battle against death and suffering. With such an enemy to fight, why do we need to fight each other?
by Douglas Skrecky
Encasing metal caskets in plastic is by far the most cost effective method for increasing the corrosion resistance of the casket. For example although aluminum readily corrodes in many soils the application of thin 0.25 millimetre plastic tapes on aluminum pipelines in Canada eliminated all leakage failures over a 25 year period.1 By comparison upgrading to a more expensive alloy alone can be a relatively ineffective means for increasing corrosion resistance as low cost stainless steel sheets have been found to perforate in high chloride soils in less than 4 years.2
A case could be made for including a stainless steel cladding as part of a more comprehensive barrier system. Applying plastic directly to stainless steel is not cost effective since inexpensive grades of stainless steel are susceptible to chloride induced crevice corrosion under the plastic. Fortunately concrete coatings do not seem to suffer from this defect.
When steel, galvanized steel, epoxy coated steel and stainless steel were embedded for 7 years in concrete contaminated with low ,medium and high amounts of chlorides the results were instructive. Both steel and galvanized steel rapidly corroded and cracked the concrete at all chloride levels. The plastic coated steel faired much better as no corrosion was observed in low and medium chloride concrete, but extensive corrosion and concrete cracking did occur in the high chloride concrete. Curiously the stainless steel remained inert at all levels of chlorides.3 How expensive does stainless steel have to be to be immune to chlorides when embedded in concrete? The answer is surprising. Even (12% chromium) 3CR12 stainless cladding has been found to be fully immune to corrosion due to chlorides when protected by the alkaline pH found in concrete.4 Thus it seems that ALL grades of stainless steel, including even the cheapest are not susceptible to corrosion when embedded in concrete. A 3CR12 clad steel casket will almost certainly remain inert for as long as the concrete it is embedded in lasts. How long could this be? Concrete can be damaged by freezing, but by including sufficient air entraining agent in the mix to help trap some air in the matrix freezing damage is virtually eliminated and thus is not a significant concern.5 In contrast to steels concrete itself is not particularly sensitive to chlorides. Instead it is primarily sulphates which destroy the cement paste which binds the concrete aggregate together. Cements like steels are marketed in various grades which vary greatly in their resistance to chemical attack. By lowering the tricalcium aluminate content sulphate resistance of portland cement is significantly increased. The addition of pozzolanic materials such silica fume, fly ash or blast furnace slag reduces the permeability of cement by several orders of magnitude and thereby further improves chemical resistance.6 Even unalloyed steel is virtually immune to chloride induced corrosion when it is embedded in an advanced pozzolanic blended cement as chlorides cannot readily penetrate this type of cement.7 One might further improve matters by incorporating a corrosion inhibitor such as calcium nitrate in the cement and then sealing the concrete block itself with epoxy.8,9
How long could a 3CR12 stainless steel clad casket last if it was embedded in an epoxy sealed concrete block, which was then placed in a (crowded) coffin and buried in a cemetery? We can get an idea by observing that ancient Roman cisterns made with a high quality "waterproof" plaster still hold water 24 centuries later.10 The lifetime of the proposed construction would probably likewise be measured in centuries.
A final tip for the interested: Unlike more costly stainless steels 3CR12 welds show maximum corrosion resistance when air cooled, rather than when quenched with water.11
1 The Corrosion Behaviour of Aluminum Pipe 9-12 December 1983 Materials Performance
2 The Galvanic Coupling of Some Stainless Steels to Copper - Underground 16-20 October 1975 Materials Performance
3 Performance of Corrosion Resisting Steels in Chloride-Bearing Concrete 439-448 September-October 1992 ACI Materials Journal
4 Use of 3CR12 as Reinforcement in Concrete 252-256 Vol.27 No.4 1992 British Corrosion Journal
5 Non-Air-Entrained High-Strength Concrete - Is it Frost Resistant? 406-415 July-August 1992 ACI Materials Journal
6 Influence of Cement Composition on Concrete Durability 574-586 November-December 1992 ACI Materials Journal
7 Corrosion Behaviour of Steel in Concrete Made With Pyrament Blended Cement 103-111 Vol.22 1992 Cement and Concrete Research
8 A Review of Corrosion Inhibitors in Concrete 41-44 October 1989 Materials Performance
9 Control of Microbiologically Induced Corrosion of Concrete in Waste-Water Collection and Treatment Systems 45-49 October 1989 Materials Performance
10 Researchers Swap Material Evidence in Boston 1886-1887 Vol.258 December 1992 Science
11 Effect of Cooling Rate on Corrosion Properties of 3CR12 Type Alloys 224-230 Vol.27 No.3 1992 British Corrosion Journal
by Chrissie Loveday,
with introduction and notes by John de Rivaz (Longevity Books). Reprinted from Longevity Report
One of the worries of people interested in cryonic suspension is that they will require expensive terminal care in old age. The Care in the Community programme for the disabled is estimated to cost between £50,000 and £75,000 per year per person. Although the UK government provides financial assistance, this is only available if your savings are below a certain figure, at present about £3,000. Therefore if you cannot afford terminal care at this cost, then you need, as you get older, to consider making your cryonics fund irrevocable. Having done this you then have no further control of your first life. So what happens next? Chrissie Loveday works in the Care in the Community programme and her experiences may be of some value in this context:
In April this year, an Act of Parliament introduced Care in the Community. Those dreadful Victorian buildings, filled with long stay patients are to go. Excellent news! Hundreds of old people and mentally ill people, institutionalised for much of their lives, are to have their independence.
The media have put out information in large doses, Press, TV and Radio, telling the tales of freedom. Peoples reactions are varied. Those involved may say that they think it is a brilliant concept .... others nod wisely and say it costs too much ... some say oh yes, that TV programme said it all ... What of the people themselves? Many of them are very scared and don't want the change from the safety and security they have known for a lifetime.
I have been working with some profoundly disabled people, some with no speech, who are hoping to move out to independence. My impression is that the degree of disability makes little difference to how they may cope ... what is important is their mental attitude. For example, Sam. He can't wait to get his own place. He spelt it out on his computer pad, he wants to be on his own ... to decide when he goes to bed and when he wants to eat his meals and what he wants ... not what he is given or told to do. This man has no speech, cannot move himself at all, even needs help to go to the loo. He is unable to dress or feed himself. He has surrounded himself with what technology he can afford and has evolved methods of coping. He knows he will need help, considerable help, but he has mental independence. He wants to be his own person. He can do his own shopping, aided by his electric wheelchair and a copy of a typewriter keyboard on a large piece of board. This is hooked on the back of the chair and he is more than ready to point at it for someone to lift it off to use. I suppose he basically sees the rest of the world as being slightly handicapped because they don't manage to understand him. Says something of all of us perhaps!
I will admit, I was very nervous when asked to run a pilot course and very uncertain about my ability to help at all. I worked hard at communicating on a number of levels and the news that one of my charges had been allocated a flat gave me the incentive to make definite plans. We discussed the client's needs and how she could organise her helpers and she was looking forward to going. She told her Mother. The response was not helpful.
"Don't be silly. It's a ridiculous idea, so just forget it."
My next session was spent mopping up tears and encouraging her not to give up.
I can sympathise with the parents of a disabled adult. A disabled child is perhaps more appealing and help given willingly. But a thirty year old baby is quite another matter. The parents may have coped for a number of years, possibly neglecting other siblings because of the time needed and, unless they know something we don't, are getting older and less able to cope themselves. So, when they finally believe their off-spring is to be cared for in a residential home, hopefully for the rest of their lives, news that they are to be cared for in the community must come as rather a shock. How on earth can they cope? Will they, the parents who have found a new way of living, be suddenly required to start all over again? Incidentally my client is now living "independently", and, in a recent letter, claimed "It was the best thing I have ever done."
It seems a little uncertain who the community is and how they are expected to care. How often do we see people looking the other way? One of my ladies told me of a woman who dragged her child across the road to avoid having to speak or answer the child's questions. Another told me that he was stopped one day by what he described as a crowd of yobs, who asked what he was doing out in the street. He should be locked away somewhere, they said. Being unable to speak, he ignored them and drove on in his chair, saying "Up yours" in his mind.
I have realised that so many of the disabled people I have encountered have all the same problems as the rest of us, plus a whole lot more. It is so important that this is recognised and dealt with. I hope that the "community" can accept what it is being asked to cope with. Perhaps one day disabilities may be cured. Just as we hope to beat the aging process, they must all be hoping for a cure. Perhaps one day, anyone who wanted it, might be offered the chance of cryonic suspension. Once the concept is proved to work, it could be a way for the disabled to escape from the restrictions of their poor bodies. I suppose each person I have worked with has said at sometime, if they could have a wish, it would be to escape from their body.* Till then, we have to work towards the best quality of life possible, for everyone, old or young.
When my clients (horrible word) are given their independence, for some, what is needed is acceptance, others need enormous amounts of help and encouragement. For Robert, he needs to know who will help him to scrub his back!
Additional Note: (by John de Rivaz)
* Voluntary, pre-mortem cryonic suspension would offer escape from a disabled body. But how can one express this idea without creating images of extermination of the handicapped? And how could the handicapped pay for it as individuals? If the government offered it to anyone who asked, then the cost savings would be enormous. (And one would hear the "Hiels" again.) Using the Cryonics Institute or even an Alcor neurosuspension, the costs would be commensurate with only a year's care in the community. I would expect that a Cryonics Institute suspension would also equate to the costs of care in an institution. Maybe when cryonic revivals are possible then people would accept its use, but once cryonic revivals are possible, then we would also have the technology to repair the handicapped.
Considering that Radio Moscow once condemned cryonics as selfish and deceiving the gullible, it is astonishing to discover that there has been in existence in Russia for some years an immortalist society that claims 2,000 members. It achieves a turnout of about 100 people at its conferences in Moscow, with another due in the autumn of 1994.
The society is based around the Russian 19th century immortalist philosopher Nikolai Fedorovich Fyodorov. He was the first man to consider seriously and in depth the elimination of death through scientific means, many years before cryonics was conceived. He was the illegitimate son of a Russian nobleman, Pavel Ivanovich Gagarin, and is believed to have lived between 1828 and 1903. Some of his associates were Solovyev, Fet, Kozhevnikov, Peterson, Setnitskii, and Tsiolkovskii, the pioneering Russian space scientist who was a pupil of Fyodorov.
Some of Fyodorov's works were published in 1970 by Gregg
International Publishers, of Westmead, Farnborough, Hants. These are believed to have been published in Russian, and many now be hard to obtain.
Fyodorov believed, erroneously as it turned out, that science would eventually be able to reconstruct the past (and hence resurrect people) by plotting the position and velocity of every atom and projecting it back in time. We now know, through quantum mechanics, that this is not possible. However quantum mechanics and relativity also provide alternative methods of time travel, albeit somewhat impractical. (One method involves putting 50 neutron stars in a line to form a rotating cylinder and then fly as space craft round it in a close orbit.) So if time travel is possible in theory, maybe by some alternative method it will possible to realise Fyodorov's dream of humanity resurrecting all its dead.
It is also interesting to note that Fyodorov was also a Christian, and he believed that this resurrection by humanity would be the method whereby the resurrections predicted in The Bible would happen.
However cryonicists and other immortalists are not willing to risk their lives on extremely remote chances of time travel type immortalism ever becoming possible. With the end of the Cold War, Russians are now writing to the western cryonic societies with the hope of becoming suspension members. Such contact was reported in September's Funeral Service Journal.
An example is a letter sent recently to Alcor from a Russian whose 40 year old wife is dying of cancer. He said his story is very like that of the film Love Story by American writer Eric Segall. He also said that he had no money with which to pay for the suspension.
Alcor passed his letter to the Society for Venturism, as Alcor do not take charity cases. (They would soon go bust if they did.) Dr Mike Perry replied that Alcor did not have any funds to donate for freezing individuals who could not pay, but offered some practical suggestions.
On the basis that the brain contains both the memories and the genetic information to make a new body, the Russian was advised to have his wife's head removed as soon as possible after death and place it in dry ice storage. It could be maintained in an insulated box adding a few pounds of dry ice per day. This will give time to further arrange matters and also show that he is serious. Dr Perry felt that it is cheaper and easier to maintain just a head and it could possibly be less of a legal problem. (Under the Communists, lawyers fees in the USSR were comparable to average wages, so legal arrangements may be less of a problem than in the west unless things have changed.)
In the six months that followed, Dr Perry heard nothing more from this man, and he assumes that a life has been lost that could have been saved. As interest grows in cryonic suspension there will be many such failures because of insuperable difficulties, not the least being lack of funds. He called for research into what is the barest minimum that can be done to constitute an adequate preservation of personality elements. The Venturists call for a general world wide change in attitude that sees death as no longer acceptable. They call for the resources of the nations to be directed towards the eradication of involuntary death.
by Paul Michaels (Life Plus Ltd)
Introduction by John de Rivaz, (Longevity Books)
This description of a visit to the Cryonics Institute is reprinted from Longevity Report 42, December 1993. Mr Michaels is managing director of Life Plus Ltd., Freepost PO Box 24, Dunstable, Beds, LU5 5AX, suppliers of vitamins and nutrients. He and his wife have been interested in cryonics for some years, and he decided to visit the premises of the Cryonics Institute in order to see for himself what they have to offer. Here is what he wrote upon his return.
Roanoke is a pretty, tree lined, suburb of Oak Park, Detroit, Michigan USA. The houses are well spaced, set back from the road and no two designs seem quite the same, indeed within this setting some are unique.
Unique not in its appearance but in its occupants is number 24443 Roanoke, for this is the home of the founder of today's Cryonics movement Robert Ettinger and his delightful wife Mae.
Back in the early 1960's Bob Ettinger proposed that people could be stored in liquid nitrogen, after being declared legally dead, where the decay normally associated with demise would be suspended until the future, when these persons could be revived, rejuvenated and restored.
This theory was eloquently presented in the genuinely readable book The Prospect of Immortality. (Copies available from Longevity Books for £3 post paid - JdeR)
Then, indeed as now, there were many detractors as to the validity and desirability of this radical life affirming philosophy. (Proving yet again that for every signpost to the future there is 100 Guardians of the Past).
Convinced of the rationality of his ideas Robert Ettinger did what he could to promote his idea, and has devoted a tremendous amount of effort and time to discussing and arguing his case for Cryonic preservation, not only for the deceased but also the terminally ill.
(This in no way implies compulsion, Cryonics is only for those that choose it, witnessed by the fact that while both Bobs Mother and first wife are suspended, Bobs Father chose to forgo the procedure).
My own experience and perception of Cryonics had been quite distant, sure I had read the books, seen the TV documentaries and so forth.
Yes all very interesting I thought as I watched a Cryonics member, in a TV programme, tell an interviewer why he would be revived sometime in the future, to worlds of indeterminate wonder and possibility.
Yes all very interesting but I wasn't going to need it, science was working on the ageing problem, before too long breakthroughs would be made and life would get longer, increment by increment, and before we knew where we were death would be matter of individual choice.
I think I felt like this for twelve years or perhaps longer, I read anything and everything I could on ageing research, I started a small company selling anti oxidants by mail order, as these appeared a vital factor in helping to fight many facets of the ageing process.
I still feel that my original thoughts of a lifespan increase have validity, but the research is slow and underfunded, more money is probably spent researching new flavours for potato crisps than understanding the decline of our cellular systems.
Slowly and imperceptibly it began to dawn on me that perhaps I needed a real, meaningful LIFE insurance policy, as opposed to a Death insurance policy.
Cryonics was my only rational solution.
My wife and I discussed it often before actually deciding to do something about it. Are you really aware how excruciatingly difficult it is to come to terms with the repulsive fact that you, and the ones you love, are going to die one day? (Of course you are, aren't you?)
Just imagine, one day you close your eyes and CLICK- the universe ends.
No wonder people put off making out their Wills.
At the time we decided to sign up for Cryonics there were three organisations, all in the USA. (By the time this gets published there may be four).
Frankly at $140,000-00 (Yes $140,000 or approximately £100,000-00) per person I couldn't afford that sort of price, especially not if I wanted to sign my family up as well, and without them the proposition seemed far less attractive.
Yet that is pretty much the charge made by the two Californian based Cryonics Companies (Alcor and Trans Time). The charge is for full body suspension, there is a lower cost option of head only suspension but for a whole number of reasons I wanted the whole body contract option. (One of the main considerations was that I had seen proposals that our memories may not be just stored in our brains but in other parts of the body also. While this is far from a fact I feel it to be of importance, there are other factors, but this is a debate for another time and place).
For this sum both organisations will collect your remains as soon as possible after legal death has been declared, pack them in ice, remove the blood and replace it with what is, essentially, a sophisticated anti freeze. The remains are then cooled to liquid Nitrogen temperatures and stored in a container filled with liquid nitrogen (a temperature of minus 195.79 degrees C) topping up the liquid nitrogen as and when required until the time the person can be revived.
Until recently all the people signed for Cryonics lived within the USA, which although a large land mass made the collection and storage of Cryonics patients a relatively uncomplicated matter. (I use the term uncomplicated in its widest possible sense).
Living in the UK presented far more obstacles, especially concerning rapid cooling and preparation of the body after the declaration of legal death. As you can imagine this procedure is not an everyday undertaking (pun intended) and requires a deal of expertise to ensure it is done correctly.
Alcor sort of solved this problem when a UK Businessman put up enough funds to provide a unit in the south of England to which the patient would be taken, cooled in ice to await a team from Alcor USA, who would prepare the body and arrange for rapid despatch to the USA storage facility. Trans Time have no representation in the UK and show no interest to date of wanting to be involved in the European marketplace.
OK Alcor, well and fine, but that still left the prime deterrent:
The insurance policy funding route was way too expensive at my age (then 45) and I don't happen to have £300,000 to spare. (In fact I understand with the extra UK arrangements it would be more expensive than in the USA).
There came the sound of a door being well and truly closed and locked, with me and my family on the wrong side.
Well of course there was the Cryonic Institute in Michigan USA, but hadn't anyone I had met involved with Cryonics in the USA always had rather disparaging things to say about them.
They used poor equipment, the patients were stored in an undesirable area of Detroit, all in all the Cryonics Institute were a slow, low profile, shabby outfit.
Yet their charge for Cryonic suspension was $28,000-00 per person for the full body, a massive difference. Also they had held this price for years, even through periods of high inflation in the 1970's.
We had to know more about them, so we started to exchange letters with The Cryonics Institute, we found out that CI had only one full time employee and a "no debt" policy. They owned everything outright and invested their funds prudently across a wide range of investments, thus providing an excess of funds needed to maintain the facility and patients.
Also things are considerably cheaper in Michigan than in California and, all things being equal, CI looked, at least from the UK, a reasonable bet.
My wife, my son and I signed up with CI. There came the sound of a door being pushed open into the future.
There was, as always, a drawback, and that was CI had no representation in England, no facilities or desire to open any.
So I started to write and ring around Funeral Directors in the UK in an attempt to find one who would be prepared to collect a CI patient after legal death declaration and do a basic body washout, replace with a Glycerine solution and ship the body, in ice, to the Michigan facility for cool down to liquid nitrogen temperature and storage.
I was not very successful, I exchanged many letters, spent much time and could not find any Funeral Director who would show more than a passing interest. However, quite out of the blue, an English Funeral Director called Barry Albin who had seen some of John de Rivaz's Cryonic suspension articles in the funeral specialist magazine, Funeral Service Journal, decided while on a visit to the USA, to call Robert Ettinger.
Following their meeting Albin and Co were appointed the Funeral Home of choice for European CI patients. Barry Albin, an engaging, lively person, (not at all my idea of a funeral director) has manufactured a purpose built transport casket. Made from solid oak and lined with titanium zinc and double sealed with a styro foam lining for insulation has produced an excellent solution to the European resident who wishes to be signed for Cryonic suspension.
At the time of deanimation, as most Cryonicists call death, Albin and Co state they can collect the remains in an open titanium zinc container, in their ambulance, and perform the washout and anti freeze infusion while packed in ice in this container, during the journey back to Albin and Co London premises. There the patient is placed into the purpose built casket, with either wet or dry ice, and shipped by air to Michigan. Barry thinks that from the moment they are notified of the need for their services the entire operation can be carried out and the patient would actually be received in Michigan USA WITHIN TWENTY-FOUR HOURS.
To find someone of Barry's obvious competence and ability to get things done is quite astounding, and indeed fortunate.
The cost of Albin and Co's service is currently £3,000 (say $4,500) and this can be funded either through Albin and Co trust arrangements, CI's trust arrangements or some mutually acceptable method.
This means that we now have, in the UK, a way of obtaining full body suspension, preceded by a professional preparation and shipment, for the sum of around $32,500-00 (say £22,000-00) per person. Yes, still quite a large sum BUT 75% LESS THAN ANY KNOWN ALTERNATIVE!
In any event most people spend more than that in a lifetime on Motor Cars, Houses and possibly even Holidays, and a Life Insurance premium on £22,000 really is virtually inconsequential at almost any age.....Go on - check it out.
So what prompted me to write all this, especially when I don't remember having ever written in about Cryonics before ..................
Well, I visited Barry Albin's London premises to check out the casket for CI on the 17th September 1993 and was impressed by the sheer professionalism and expertise of this business, established incidentally over two hundred years ago, I spent a couple of hours with Barry and was shown every courtesy by a very busy person who is well aware that he is unlikely to make any money from Cryonics within the next 10 years or so, and yet I got the strong impression that he felt Cryonics is a logical extension to the Funeral business and he is delighted his is the first company to establish transatlantic links with an American Cryonics organisation.
On the 21st September 1993 I landed in Detroit Metropolitan airport, after the customs formalities I wandered into the arrivals lounge and was met by a man in his early seventies holding a picture of a Phoenix rising. (He had told me he would be with a big bird but in my quirky English way I had assumed something different!)
Bob's second wife Mae was also with him and although we none of us had met before I was treated like a long lost friend.
They drove me to their home in Roanoke mentioned at the beginning of this article, and proceeded to overwhelm me with hospitality.
I had to be careful about what I said to Mae because I only mentioned I wanted to buy a new Walkman as mine was broken and the next thing I knew she was telephoning all the electronics stores to find which one stocked the one I wanted and then insisted on driving me to the Shopping Malls in which they were situated and staying with me, walking through these huge complexes.
Mae is, I think, 79 and very busy most all of the time looking after Bob and helping to run CI, that they should afford me so much time and goodwill, and put up with my onslaught of humour speaks volumes for their good natures.
I was put up (or should that be down) in their spacious basement for my one week stay and during that time I went to look at premises for sale in the local area. CI's current premises are now reaching capacity with 11 patients in storage (and two cats!)
Bob wants to purchase a unit around 8000-9000 sq ft in size. CI already has the funds for such a building so the "no debt" policy continues.
We looked at two units and the one I liked the most was in an area about 15 minutes from Oak Park in a place called Troy. The site was semi landscaped at the front, with a large grass lawn and several trees. The unit had an attractive brick and glass frontage, and was set off by the trees. I thought how attractive this would look on any future CI promotional brochure.
Industrial areas look VERY different in Michigan to the ones I see in the UK!
On Thursday 23rd September we went to "The Lab" as Bob calls it, where the patients are stored in large white fibreglass containers. There I met Andy the one full time CI employee. He and Bob showed me around the unit and I could see why the search for larger premises was underway. Space was really at a premium.
Actually the detractors of CI were right about one thing, the area in which the patients are currently stored does look fairly run down and unattractive.
Yet none of the patients were complaining about this. In any event if the new premises end up looking like either of the one we visited then nothing I was told about CI will have any substance.
I was very impressed with the way CI does as much as it can themselves, Andy and Bob showed me some fibreglass strength experiments they were undertaking, I also learned that storage in fibreglass units is a lower cost option than stainless steel for three reasons
1. The actual cost of the raw material is lower.
2. The "boil off" of the liquid nitrogen is less and
3. It is far cheaper and easier to repair.
At last I was beginning to realise some of the reasons why there was such a large difference in the prices between CI and the others.
On Friday 24th September Bob and Mae took me on a tour of both the good and not so good areas of Detroit. The older run down areas seemed to emit menace and foreboding from the very brickwork and broken windows, in the lane next to our car two other cars collided with a loud metallic crash....I nearly jumped through the roof...nervous...me?
From there Bob took us through to the lakeside areas where Michigan borders with Canada, what a contrast, vast open areas of parkland, lakes as far as the eye could see. Beautiful vistas, sparkling water, huge expensive houses set well back from the roads and Autumn coloured trees just everywhere.
This has to the major visual asset of the Detroit area millions of fabulous trees, Oaks and Maples and others I didn't know but all stunning.
That evening I was finally allowed to pay for something and I bought us all a meal at a lakeside restaurant. It was a normal meal out for me with the waiter trying to decide whether to come to terms with my humour or simply ask us to leave. In the end we stayed and enjoyed fine food, fine wine and even finer conversation. (It said on the menu "If you require more water simply ask the waiter". As there were at least 1000 million gallons of the stuff splashing the side of the building from the lake I didn't bother). The rest of my time there flew away with a mega meal at the Skyline restaurant, a mere 28 floors up, looking out into a rain swept night, all in the company of other Cryonicists.
The building was five years old yet looked, inside and out, as though it had been finished yesterday. The night was excellent, Royse Brown, a very active Cryonicist, signed with CI but also does work with Alcor and Trans Time drove for three hours or more for the meal and conversation, then drove back again, hope you enjoyed it half as much as I did Royse.
I was taken to see a local presentation of Guys and Dolls in a local theatre, run on a part time basis, yet it all looked and sounded as good as anything I've seen put on at Shaftsbury Avenue.
I got to take Bob and Mae's dogs for a walk on the Sunday, the sun was bright and the dogs showed me how to get right round the block, quite a way for just two rows of houses.
On Monday Mae actually let me take a taxi to a Mall for some last minute shopping on my own (She didn't really, I made the arrangements and went while she had a lie in).
That evening Bob gave a talk on Cryonics to a group of Libertarians, some nights you realise just how wonderful it is to be alive.
I abhor almost all forms of authority, and to be in the company of a group of people who feel the same is superb. The night evaporated before my very eyes, humorous and serious, Bobs talk was one of the first I've heard on Cryonics that wasn't confrontational. His approach is low key, rational and positive. He obviously keeps well up to date with the latest developments in Nano technology, Life extension research and makes his case thoughtfully and with conviction.
His talk was well received by everybody present, with the usual question and answer session at the end. Mae and I took some photos (Say Mouse) and that was the end of my visit to CI.
All during the week I stayed in Oak Park doing the aforementioned things people were coming in and out, Bob's brother Alan looked in with some medical equipment, another Lady whose name I am sorry I cannot remember and so on.
My thanks to you all, but primarily to Bob and Mae Ettinger it was a trip I will never forget.
I returned home the following day.
On the way back I decided I don't want to frozen in liquid nitrogen or frozen in anything at all really, I want to go on living, enjoying life and the company of other like-minded souls, but in reality I know I have made the best choice with the facts of life as they are now.
And what if Cryonics really works? Well then we get another chance to spend some more time together without the shadow of death.
WOW! If you can be happy at all right now, knowing that it will all end one day and you have no say when and if, think how much happier we can be when we lose that shadow.
Right, that's the Cryonics taken care of, now exactly how do we raise half a billion £'s to start the major anti-ageing research programme?
Paul Michaels 9th October 1993
with a comment by Dr Mike Perry
(Society for Venturism)
People often wonder whether funds spent on gravestones or more elaborate monuments are wasted, and the money be better used to benefit society as whole. The much higher costs of cryonics make these accusations ring louder, and this article, which initially appeared in Venturist Monthly News of October 1993, looks at these points. Venturist Monthly News appears monthly for an annual subscription of $18 ($15 Canada, $12 USA) from The Society for Venturism, PO Box 8511, Riverside, CA 92515, USA. It is an organisation promoting longevity through the use of science and technology.
One objection frequently raised by people when confronted by the cryonics idea is that money spent on such a speculative venture is "wasted" and could be put to better use feeding the poor or helping the disadvantaged. (What they really mean, of course, is that they would prefer it to be given to them in a legacy and they could spend it on partying, hollidaying, drinking, smoking, gambling and fornicating.) However let us look at whether money spent on cryonics is really wasted as far as the rest of the world is concerned.
If the suspension funds were treated in the way the establishment prefers, they would be passed on by legacy to private individuals to spend as they please. They may buy furniture, for example. In this case the money would pass to the sellers of the furniture and the makers of the furniture as wages and expenses. If no one bought furniture, then those people would be on welfare, or at best would be in jobs that had displaced other people who would be on welfare. In addition, those people whose wages were represented by the expenses of the furniture makers and sellers would also be out of a job and so on. The same argument applies whatever the legatees spend their money on, even if it is spent purely on a service, eg a holiday.
Instead, suppose the funds are spent on cryonic suspension. Some of them are paid out as wages to the suspension personnel and their expenses1 - just like the furniture makers in fact. So far the result to the rest of the world is the same as a simple legacy to a private individual. But part of these funds are also invested so that the income therefrom can be used to top up the dewars with liquid nitrogen and provide over overheads relating to the storage space used.
Even if invested in fixed interest securities, invested funds are rather different to spent funds. No business can run without capital. At one time people could build up a business on their own without capital, just using the strength of their own hands. These days are nearly over - in order to compete today one needs capital. This can be obtained by borrowing or by selling shares in the business. Borrowing has the advantage that if you are successful you can pay back the loan from income and then own the business yourself. But if your business fails and you have to go back to working for someone else, then you have to pay back the loan. Selling shares has the advantage that if you are not successful, then you don't have to pay the money back. But if you are successful then the shareholders expect, in return for the risk they have run, to share in the financial rewards of your success. Either process is essential to a thriving economy. Even big companies need to raise money by these two methods from time to time. If no one invested money either into shares or fixed interest loans, then the economy would grid to a halt.
The only way you could really destroy the money, and even this is arguable, is to order your personal representatives to buy gold, dissolve it in acid, and tip the resulting solution into the sea. (This may be an interesting clause to a cryonics will - "if my suspension does not go ahead for reasons of interference by person or persons rather than practical impossibility, then I direct that my trustees buy gold .. etc.")
In time of economic difficulty, governments often try and encourage people to save rather than to spend, so the savings can be invested in industries that provide work and make useful things. Cryonic suspension arrangements encourage people to save, and by result of the fact that part of the suspension money remains invested, they should boost the economies of which they are a part. Cryonic suspension money is not destroyed, it actually benefits society far more than money spent on the ordinary retail purchases of potential legatees.
Dr Mike Perry writes:
On the question of why we shouldn't feed the poor or otherwise redirect the resources used for cryonics to the "needy," some additional replies come to mind. One simple but solid argument is that those just clinically dead themselves are about as needy as you can get. This argument, however, will not convince the non-cryonicist who tends to regard cryonics as a "very long shot" and who may, in addition, feel that the elderly (who are most often the ones who die) have "already lived their lives" and thus are not so much worth saving. So, we counter that first, cryonics isn't such a "long shot," in view of nanotechnology, etc., and second, that ageing is a potentially curable affliction. When Aunt Tillie, now a wrinkled 84, is properly treated, she should look and feel a lovely 18 again, or whatever age she wishes, and of course be just as "valuable" (or even more so, with all the added experience)
It is tough, on the other hand, to say we shouldn't feed the poor, particularly children. We should. However, it is unfair to blame cryonics (or any other rational attempt at saving lives) for the shortage of resources that may result in loss of other life. You could just as well argue against feeding some of the starving poor on grounds that others need the assistance too. In any case the resources currently spent on cryonics are small indeed compared to the volume of aid going to the needy, so the issue has so far been moot.
There is another rationale, though, for committing resources to cryonics, that should carry at least some weight in humanitarian philosophical circles. Cryonics is one step in an attempt to elevate the human race to more than human status. We are trying to raise the level of consciousness about mortality, to bring home the fact (we think) that death itself is a preventable affliction! Our success in this is not guaranteed, any more than that cryonics itself will work. But surely there is enough chance of it - a propaganda victory that would change the world for the better - to justify a reasonable expenditure of the necessary resources.
1 The Cryonics Institute uses volunteer labour for suspensions, citing this as one of the various reasons why its fees are only $28,000 for a whole body suspension.
One of the problems with trying to run a cryonics organisation is that the people involved are rugged individualists. A large number of the people interested in the concept cryonics have very little to do with the actual work, which is highly specialised. Therefore they try to find work for themselves, which may well be criticising the management structure. If they were organisation people, or "cogs in the wheel" cryonics society members would be quite ready to accept annihilation or believe in some more widely acceptable form of post mortem survival.
There is, of course a problem with believing something because a lot of other people do. The universe is not democratic - one can't make the world flat, for example, just by having a lot of people believe it to be so. After all, there was a period in human history when virtually everyone believed the world to be flat. We now know them to be wrong.
An organisation comprised of individualists is inherently unstable, and Alcor, the world's largest and most prestigious cryonics organisation, is no exception. It has therefore lost a number of its key members to found another organisation, to be called CryoCare. [PO Box 3631 Culver City CA90231 USA] The latest hope for stability in the cryonics movement is for there to be a number of small organisations that contract with the main groups.
Thus, if you think Alcor perfusion is best and Cryonics Institute storage is best, you can have a contract to be perfused by Alcor and stored by the Cryonics Institute. Also, the main group will be able to switch clients if any of the small groups fail.
* * *
Cryonics Institute suspends pet dog.
The Cryonics Institute has a number of cats in storage, and it suspended its first dog recently. The dog, called "Yeti", was about 17 years of age when it perished through old age. His owner froze him slowly in his deep freeze, and then in dry ice, while investigating organisations for long term storage. It is not known whether he perfused the body first.
The Cryonics Institute offers pet storage for pets whose owners are members, therefore Mr and Mrs Lawrence joined the CI before Yeti was taken into storage. The Cryonics Institute charge for animal storage depending on size. The minimum charge for cats is $5,700.
Anyone in the UK wishing to place their pet in cryonic suspension would best start by contacting CI's UK and European agent Barry Albin [Arthur Stanley House Culling Road London SE16 2TN, 071-237-3637,2600, or 6366, fax 6366.] Alternatively they could have their local funeral director contact Albins on their behalf.
by Chrissie Loveday
It is a fact of life that people will make assumptions about each other. A long-haired, scruffy or leather clad man walking along the road, might be seen as a layabout, up to no good or threatening. Someone sitting in parked car may be assumed to be watching a place for some illegal purpose, casing the joint for possible burglary, perhaps? A woman wearing a wedding ring, is automatically assumed to be married, a man who does not wear one is not necessarily unmarried, but he could be. What we rarely take the time to see, is what that person is really like. Some of my closest friends have long hair and often look scruffy, but they are kind and loving and not a bit like the image they are projecting. A person in a wheelchair is not necessarily brainless or voiceless and it should be assumed they are unable to speak ... the "does he take sugar"? syndrome.
We must all, at some time, have looked at someone who is suffering and wondered what they have to live for? What possible motivation do they have to go on? Ask them, they will respond in various ways. The old lady crippled with arthritis can't wait for "her good Lord to take her". Some of us without her faith, would think she is tired of life and simply wants to end her pain. Euthanasia is not an option in Britain and so her life is prolonged. Others have a capacity for enjoying life for whatever it offers, just for the sake of living.
Working with profoundly disabled people, I often see them in a severe depression, often brought on by frustration at not being able to do anything for themselves. Those who do have good brains are often the worst, logically because they be aware of things they would like to be doing. Even the people who are most disabled can have some ambition, even if only to make their own choices about what they want to wear on a certain day. We cannot assume that what they "have to live for" is so little as to make it almost not worthwhile. There are times when to instil a little motivation becomes an uphill task and it is case of survival until a better day comes along. But to most of them, life is precious and they derive their own pleasures from living. Because we can't imagine how we would cope, does not mean that any life is not worth protecting.
As I get older, the things I want to do, seem to increase daily. Time goes faster and faster and I do not believe it just me, being less efficient. Some of my old friends may wonder what I find to do, buried in Cornwall, away from my previous busy life. Assumptions again! I seem to have found more to do than ever, with writing, my work at Cornwall College and so many beautiful things to see around me. However did I find time for those other activities and does it matter anyway, if some things don't get done? As long as I and anyone else concerned, are comfortable with it, life belongs to oneself to use in particular ways. Perhaps death, too.
My involvement with the cryonics movement is relatively recent. Talking about it to various people brings varied reactions. Inevitably, the "how much" comes into it and the well known responses are trotted out. For many people, there is the assumption it won't work and therefore those signed up are being conned, wasting money. Is it not equally wasteful to spend vast sums of money on maintaining buildings, churches, various investigative committees, law-suits, etc.? It is surely up to everyone to believe in what they are doing and if it does not hurt other people, why not have a few eccentrics around?
Those with deep religious beliefs suggest cryonics is quite wrong and potentially evil, but are they not making the assumption their beliefs are the right ones? Look at the vast range of ways of disposing of bodies, according to the different religions. Who is right? Those who incinerate? Those who bury in the ground, pointing in particular directions, vertically, upside-down, as in some traditions, curled up, in others? Is it really a total waste of money for those who burn huge symbolic piles of expensive paper, printed to look like money, cars, houses, videos etc., as in many Far Eastern countries? Because it is different, why should anyone ever dare to assume it is wrong?
The stress and grief brought by a death, expected or unexpected, can make decisions very difficult. Knowing the person's wishes, regarding funerals and disposal of the corpse is not always easy. It may be in direct conflict with you believe to be right, but surely wishes should be respected? Assuming the deceased was a little potty, not in proper control of their faculties, is no reason to do what you think is right and not what they wanted. If they were right all along, you would be guilty of denying them a chance. I will stick to what I think and believe and right or wrong, I hope others will respect my wishes.
Reprinted from Longevity Report 44.
As society is presently constituted, those opting for cryonic suspension are placing themselves very much in a minority. It is acceptable to consume the bulk of medical resources used over an entire lifetime in the last few months in order to gain a short reprise from death. However spending a smaller amount in order to gain a chance of revival in good health is seen as eccentric no matter what logic dictates.
Just as with other frontiers of science, legislators are now seeing the growth of cryonics as a chance to make money or make a name for themselves, and this has started in Canada.1,2 The province of British Columbia has enacted laws which prohibit the marketing and selling of cryonics services. The Cryonics Society of Canada and Alcor Suspension Services Manager Tanya Jones have written to the British Columbia Minister of Labour and Consumer Services appealing that the law be withdrawn. Minister Moe Sihota made a defensive reply and refused to reconsider the law.
The Canadian government (in common with most others) also refuses its citizens the freedom to end their suffering in terminal cases. The case of Sue Rodruigez attracted much publicity in the country. Suffering from Lou Gehrig's disease, she asked a parliamentary committee, "If I cannot give consent to my own death, then whose body is this?". In September 1993 her request for an end to her suffering by voluntary euthanasia was denied by judges and lawyers in a 5-4 decision in the Canadian Supreme Court. In February 1994 her physician assisted her to die, and the death was witnessed by sympathetic MP Svend Robinson. The government may take action against him. However the Canadian Prime Minister, Jean Cretien, has now agreed to a debate on the issues.
The last paragraph is most interesting inasmuch as it appears that a government may be going to attack one of its own MPs over this matter, and it brings into focus some important philosophical issues as to exactly what are individuals and what are governments. One can consider a government to be a living entity that uses individual people as its cells, or possibly one could say as neurons or even just thoughts in its "brain".3,4 If a thought is an anathema to the overall personality of this entity, then it is thrown out, just as with the processes within an individual's brain.
Therefore we as individuals share the planet with entities which not only threaten us but also use us as "cells" or units within them. At the time of writing there is a lot of debate as to various government agencies that are springing up, who have powers sometimes in excess of those of the Police. The Child Support Agency was introduced by the government in order to chase fathers who would not support their children after divorce or separation. Instead of doing this, they are alleged to be attacking those that are supporting their children and increasing the penalties levied on them after fair trials in the courts. Despite media attention, no effort has been made to remedy the situation. A television programme on BBC2 alleged that the British Government and the world's state run airlines conspired to destroy Laker Airways, even managing to prevent an anti-trust case being heard in the US courts. In the past these entities or governments have even exterminated individuals within their curtilage. The most famous example was the National Socialists in Germany, but conscription to any war can be seen in this light.
Most humans consider themselves to be at the top of the food chain, ie nothing will farm them and eat them. Of course they can get eaten if they stray into wild areas where there are dangerous animals, but this is of academic importance only to most people. Assuming for a moment that cryonics is proven to work, governments that either forbid it directly or indirectly by insisting on autopsy could be regarding as feeding on their citizens. They would argue that autopsies are desirable as they increase scientific knowledge and more importantly organisational knowledge. (The cause of death could be illegal, murder, suicide, recreational-drug induced etc.) Therefore they feed on the knowledge that is obtained. Remember that governments are pure thought entities. They can die suddenly or violently (such as Communism or National Socialism), or wither away (such possibly as Liberalism in the UK). However there is no set age of three score years and ten or whatever. Hitler's 1,000 years of National Socialism wasn't unreasonable on that score. Humans won't eat animals or plants unless they are "ready" or "ripe". Government won't usually eat humans unless they are ready, ie dead. Exceptions are conscription etc as aforementioned, but such governments are unsuccessful in the evolution of government, and therefore tend to fail.
Ultimately the success of cryonic suspension may not depend on matters such as whether people can afford it or whether future science can revive the clients into good health. It will depend on whether allowing it is a successful trait in the evolution of governments.
We have already looked at how cryonics can be unsuccessful. Governments that allow it will receive less information on their citizens from autopsy. Individuals who form part of governments will not be able to make financial or political capital out of attacking it. Individuals need to benefit themselves from being members of governments (ie assisting them), otherwise governments die through lack of officers.
But are there traits that will make cryonics desirable, ie governments allowing it, even promoting it, will be stronger than those that don't? I think that there are plenty.
Governments use up resources in educating individuals. Cryonics preserves that education. (If it works)
Cryonics encourages savings and investments, not consumption. (Whether it works or not!)
Cryonics encourages people to lead lawful and responsible lives. (Whether it works or not!) (If you are going to live for ever, sooner or later any wrongdoing will be found out. Even if you only live a long time, the chances of being caught are much higher.)
If an individual's government has supported cryonics, that individual is likely to support that style of government when revived, thus adding longevity to it. (If cryonics works.)
Unfortunately although you can write to MPs, the Sue Rodruigez case tells us that you cannot actually communicate at all with governments as entities. No one can tell governments that cryonics is beneficial (or indeed that it isn't). Only the sum total of actions of individuals, promoted either by personal greed or personal survival, will make up governments' thought processes. Both greed and survival are very strong drives. People with long time horizons are more likely to be survivalists, and those with short term goals will see the other options. It will be some years before we know whether governments "decide" that cryonics is a beneficial evolutionary trait.
Notes for further reading:
1 Canadian Cryonics News 23. [$14/yr quarterly from PO Box 788 Station A Toronto Ontario M5W 1G3 Canada ($10 Canada)]
2 Funeral Service Journal October 1991, page 59
3 The Selfish Gene Richard Dawkins, Oxford, 1989, ISBN 0-19-217773-7.
particularly chapter 11 in 1989 edition.
4 Engines of Creation Eric Drexler, Doubleday, 1986, ISBN 0-385-19972-4
particularly chapter 13, 1986 edition. Drexler writes "In the organism known as a democracy the conscious level roughly corresponds to debate in the mass media." Interesting. Note that (a) Those in authority are known by psychologists to have a high sex drive, (b) Debate in the mass media at least at the moment seems to concentrate on the sex lives of politicians and those in authority. (c) Sexual reproduction is an important part of evolutionary theory. However, on the analogy proposed here, we are referring to the sex lives of the "cells" making up the body politic. Could it be that by attacking the sexuality of the cells of the government, individualism is attacking the lifeblood of collectivism. Now we have two "isms". Things are getting quite chaotic!
Most products and services have been the prizes in competitions to promote magazines, and so it was almost inevitable that eventually cryonic suspension would be selected. The magazine that has the distinction of being the first is the futurist popular science magazine Omni. Its competition appeared in its issue dated January 1993.
In conjunction with the Alcor Foundation, it asked for essays of not more than 250 words explaining why the entrant was the most suitable applicant for free cryonic suspension. (Of course the prize will only be delivered when the winner has died.) In fact applicants were limited to United States residents and had to agree to submit to a medical examination at Alcor's expense for life insurance. However (strangely) eligibility for insurance was not a prerequisite for winning the contest.
The winner, James Baglivo, probably wouldn't have got life insurance as things turned out. He is a 21 year old man who was disabled at age 19 as a result of an 80 mile/hr car accident. He was with some of his friends in a car which hit some trees at speed, and turned over several times. They found his body 30 feet from the vehicle, and he was in a coma for a month. He now has more metal in his body than most people in their silverware drawers, as he put it in his winning essay, and suffers constant pain. His back is supported by metal rods and his lower back flexibility is lost. His right calf muscle is non-functional due to the spinal injury. He can still work and work, though.
His essay said that he looked forward to an enlightened future which will not be the ignorant, opinionated, and prejudiced world of today. He does not plan to take such traits to the future, but feels that his knowledge of them will prevent mistakes from being repeated.
Baglivo had not heard of cryonics (except in science fiction) before reading about it in Omni. Since he won the contest, he has had some flack from people around him, but he thinks that healthy people are too present-centred to seriously consider their ultimate destination. Also, people set aside thoughts about unpleasant things. He tends towards atheism in his religious beliefs, and says that the American public wants to be fooled all the time. "They want to feel sure and that is why they are into that sort of stuff," he said in an interview to Cryonics magazine. He goes on to say that the honesty of cryonics practitioners in warning people that success is not guaranteed may be putting many people off. "It's not safe, and secure and sure."
He said that the accident was a disaster physically, but mentally it woke him up fast. This is because whilst he was flat on his back in hospital all he could do was to think.
He was put into a frame of mind that non-cryonicists find hard to grasp. That is that our minds and our bodies are not irrevocably connected. Your consciousness is the most fundamental part of your identity, not your body. Whilst he was in hospital. Baglivo speculated how nice it would be if all his thoughts could be transferred to an integrated circuit chip and plugged into something else.
He also said that if none of this had happened to him he would not have been signing up for cryonics now. The accident made him realise that the most important possession anyone has is their life. Your house, your car in fact all the matter around is meaningless if you have lost your life.
[Sources: Omni January 1993, Cryonics January 1994]
An open letter to the legislators of British Columbia from Professor Robert C.W. Ettinger dated 8 April 1994 questioned the motives and rationale behind the restriction they place on their citizens' freedom to chose cryonics. The letter said that the legislation banning cryonics was ill considered and based on false information. It suggests that some will see the law as "make-work" and empire building.
It focuses on thee main issues:
1. What evidence is there that such a law is necessary?
If the law is not really necessary, then it is a waste of taxpayers' money. Even if it were necessary by some criteria, then it still can be seen as an invasion of privacy and interference with statutory freedom of choice with regards to disposal of remains.
If cryonics is a waste of money, then why not legislate against other wastes of money, such as building statues to oneself, or one's cat, or the construction of (obscure) religious monuments or premises? There already exist laws against fraud. Where activities are seen by some to be potentially life saving, as is cryonics, there is an especially heavy burden of proof required for those who seek to outlaw it.
The letter asks why British Columbians need special "protection" against cryonics. Has anyone complained about it? Is there evidence of improper sale representations being made? The only known scandal about cryonics is where someone is punished for not freezing people after contracting to do so - a simple case of business failure. The principles of cryonics were not in question.
No cryonics organisation guarantees success, yet they are legislated against (in BC) whereas religions that promise resurrection of the body go unchallenged. Lotteries are permitted in which the average buyer is guaranteed to lose! Members of cryonics organisations are told that there is no guarantee and that there is a majority of opinion of science against the process working. (But there are no refereed scientific papers that say cryonics won't work, just vague comments to the press by leading scientists. There are refereed scientific papers that say it could work, though. One must also realise for example, that powered flight or transatlantic radio was once against the majority of scientific opinion of the time.) The letter also said that if the British Columbian legislators went with majority opinion, then they should be aware that they are in a minority of one compared to the world's legislators when the ban cryonics!
2. Did the legislative process include seeking a balance of information from all interested parties?
The letter suggests that they relied to heavily on the views of regulatory staff and took little or no public or expert opinion.
3. Does the law as written reflect legislative intent, and can it be readily interpreted?
The law doesn't mention cryonics as such, but bans any commercial arrangement with expectation of revival of human remains. On the face of it, the law therefore bans transplant surgery. When organs are removed for transplant, the specific aim is to revive human remains. (The recipient is effectively dead without a heart, for example.) This law also prohibits CPR, which sometimes revives apparently dead people.
The letter ended with an invitation to discuss the issues with a view to repealing or revising the legislation. The Cryonics Institute reported that no reply had been received by 4 May 1994.
The full text of the letter, which runs to four A4 pages, is available from Longevity Books. An SAE would be appreciated.
by Michael Soloviov
1. What is permafrost burial
Permafrost burial is a kind of cryostasis -- frozen storage of the clinically dead to await future rescue by advanced technology. Permafrost burial differs from usual cryonic procedures: it needs (besides perfusion with cryoprotective solution) additional dehydration, chemical fixation, and air isolation. Its technology is rather experimental now, although 3 people were buried in the Canadian permafrost.
Originally permafrost burial was suggested by Evan Cooper in his book Immortality: Physically, Scientifically, Now in 1962. The most comprehensive book on this subject is Permafrost Papers by Ben Best (Cryonics Society of Canada).
2. Location of Russian Lapland
Russian Lapland (or the Kolsky peninsula, part of Scandinavia) is the area in the northwest of Russia (1000 km north of St.Petersburg).
3. Conditions in the heart of Russian Lapland
There are several towns with average population about 100,000 in each (total population of Russian Lapland is over 1,000,000). The main industry is mining. There is also a large research centre of the Russian Academy of Science and a centre of ski sport.
The transport conditions are very good: highway and railroad to St.Petersburg (about 1300 km), airport (several flights a day to/from St.Petersburg, flights to Finland and Norway are planned).
4. Permafrost there
As the plain permafrost there is rather weak and discontinuous the best location for permafrost burials in the mountain permafrost. There are wholly abandoned mines as well as abandoned shafts in the working mines. I have information that ice in the air-isolated parts of shafts does not melt even in summer and grows constantly. I hope to investigate the possibility to store the time capsules in such shafts during my visit there this summer or autumn.
5. Burial outline
As we plan that our future cryonics company will operate mainly in St.Petersburg (population over 5,000,000) this outline is made for this region:
(1) The death of our patient is pronounced.
(2) Our company (or an associated funeral director) prepares the patient for permafrost burial (perfuses the patient with cryoprotective/dehydroprotective/fixative solution, friezes, dehydrates, and puts in the stainless steel box/cylinder -- time capsule).
(3) Our company transports the patient into Russian Lapland by car.
(4) Our company puts the patient in the burial place (permafrost cemetery or bought/rented abandoned mine shaft).
(5) Our company inspects the burial place to check the safety of the patient in order to move him/her into another burial place in emergency.
As the cryonics teams also exist in Britain and there are regular flights to St.Petersburg this outline can be easily adapted for the British conditions.
6. Expenditures and price: preliminary estimation
As it is possible to conclude from these tables the price for 1 burial should be $2000 to return investments at the first 10 burials. The real price will be about $3000 (my estimation).
|Initial Expenditures||$||Expenditure for 1 burial||$|
|Freeze drying machine||2,500||Time Capsule||100|
The average price for the usual burial is $300-$500 now in Russia. The average monthly salary is about $100 (and it grows constantly). Thus our price will be affordable for the most people in Russia.
7. About the author of the project
I am a biophysicist from St.Petersburg University worked for a long time in life extension. Last year my colleagues and I organized an initiative group to promote cryonics in Russia. In autumn we intend to establish our cryonics foundation legally. Our next step will be attraction of investments and donations to create a cryonics company in Russia. To contact us please write or send e-mail to: Michael Soloviov, 9 Kaznacheyskaya St., Apt. 24, St. Petersburg, 190031 Russia, e-mail: email@example.com.
Ben Best (Cryonics Society of Canada) asked me: How did you learn of the idea of cryonics? This is a copy of my answer (I also sent it to Mike Perry (Society for Venturism) and later gave him the permission to publish it in The Venturist Monthly News):
I learned of cryonics in my early teens. I don't remember the source -- I think it was some popular scientific magazine. The first source I can remember is: J.Kurtzman & P.Gordon, No More Dying, 1976.
Since my school years I am interested in life extension. However cryonics implies the gap between the present life and the future one (after reanimation) and there is some uncertainty in "jumping" this gap. Therefore I decided to investigate other (more smooth) possibilities.
For this purpose I studied and worked in the following fields:
(1) gene engineering (2 years) -- to fight against ageing at the molecular level;
(2) synaptic transmission (0.5 year) and neurophysiology of vision (1.5 year) -- to transfer human personality into computer directly (by analysis of neural activity) or to create a cyborg (man+machine) brain;
(3) artificial intelligence, neural computing, and psychology (3 years) -- to transfer human personality into computer indirectly (by computer simulation based on data got by psychological methods);
(4) computer hardware design (4 years) -- to create computer hardware to provide (2) and (3) and to create microrobots (or nanorobots) for molecular medicine to provide (1).
Finally I estimated that my life may be too short to realize these smooth possibilities and I decided to work in cryonics as it gives the only existed possibility for life extension.
Permafrost Remains: Prisoner Burials
James Yount (American Cryonics Society) asked me about tissue samples from any specimen of animals discovered in a still-frozen state. This is a copy of my answer (I also sent it to Ben Best (Cryonics Society of Canada):
I know a man worked in the Taimyr peninsula (deep permafrost area) as a building manager. He told me that during some building work his workers found a large permafrost burial of prisoners -- there were many prisoner camps (GULAG) in Stalin time (and they were in other permafrost areas too). I think that tens thousands people were buried in permafrost in that time. Moreover it is highly probably that they were frozen immediately after the death (without cryoprotectants however).
If it would appear that the ethical problems what could arise are not insoluble -- I think it is possible to organize (with your possible financial (to speed up) and/or physical participation) an expedition in Taimyr (or in another place) to find such burials.
We will investigate Norlisk, Taimyr as another place for permafrost burials.
by John de Rivaz (Longevity Books)
One of the problems with getting people interested in cryonic suspension is that people who may be interested are also very wary of anything to do with authority over their lives. Making cryonics arrangements involves lawyers, accountants, life insurance and medical professionals, all of who may be very sceptical of the concept.
Gradually, the cryonics organisations are finding ways to make "signing up" more person friendly, but this is not one of their priorities. Indeed, Alcor tend to go the other way as they try harder and harder to make the legal side watertight.
However, people who may be interested in cryonics are also likely to be interested in individualism, and therefore they may be attracted to organisations helping people to maximise their individual freedom. One such organisation, started about a year ago, was founded with only $250. Now it is grossing $20,000 per month for its founder, and its members! The fact that its members collectively are grossing this amount may seem startling, but instead of paying advertising professionals, they pay their members for new introductions. In fact Terra Libra, as it is called, uses a new and legal form of the chain letter to operate. When you join, you get given a membership number and sales information with your membership number printed on it. You the distribute this sales information any way you like. If you are already in business, this cost you very little. The scheme is made legal by the fact that all orders go direct to Terra Libra's headquarters. The introducing member cannot be defrauded because each new member makes out three cheques, one to Terra Libra, one to the "sponsor" and one to the "distributor". The sponsor and distributor are the chain of introducing members that generates the income for the individuals concerned.
The relevance of all this to cryonics is that Terra Libra is recruiting 2,500 people per month - far more than the cryonics societies. Yet these people are likely to be good targets for the cryonics idea. Terra Libra now publishes its own newsletter, Terra Libra News, which comes out monthly, and this will be carrying a cryonics column. Provided Terra Libra doesn't burn out, this could be a very substantial boost for educating people about cryonics. There are already people in the UK in Terra Libra, and therefore these could be new recruits to cryonics in the long term. However I estimate that, on average, it could take ten years from the time someone hears about it for a him to decide to sign up. There won't be a sudden rush, but publicity has been going on for more than ten years now, and the more people who have heard about it in times past read about cryonics the more they are likely to take action.
For more information about Terra Libra please write to me at West Towan House Porthtowan Truro TR4 8AX, and a leaflet will be sent without any obligation.
by Robert Ettinger, with introduction by John de Rivaz.
There has been quite a lot of publicity on British television about cryonics during the early summer of 1994. As an account of it has already appeared in the July edition of The Immortalist, I am repeating this instead of writing my own. Apart from saving time spent repeating someone else's work, this also is a useful exercise in seeing how American react to our television style. Sample copies of The Immortalist are available free of cost from Longevity Books (see advert), from which subscription information is also available.
Before the American article, I would also comment that over here some viewers seemed less satisfied with Mr Smyth's contribution than the American viewers. Possibly they are more used to programmes where there is a general hubbub in the studio! There has also been a half hour program on BBC Radio Four about cryonics in their science series Big Bang. In this programme Smyth, Price and Pegg all spoke in an extremely civilised manner and indeed it was an exemplary discussion. Dr Pegg seemed more willing to discuss rather than dismiss the cryonicists' arguments.
All any sensible cryonicist can expect is for other people to consider the subject in a non-flippant manner. If after considering it, they decide that it is not for them, then so be it. Rejectors of cryonics are not little children to be dragged screaming to an equivalent of the dentist's chair because some elder and better says it is good for them!
Anyway, here is what Robert Ettinger writes:
The hosts or moderators of British TV programs devoted to cryonics were generally reasonably friendly; the invited opponents varied widely, the audiences were apparently not very sympathetic, on the whole. Most of the cryonics people - from the Cryonics Institute and Alcor UK - made good appearances. Following are some titbits and comments, without attempting to identify individual shows or hosts.
Paul Michaels appeared with his wife Maureen and son Alex - a handsome and well-spoken family, Cryonics Institute members. When presented with the old chestnut that "Death is part of life," Paul said, "Death is the cessation of life, not part of life." When asked why he wanted longer life, he said something like: "Life is sometimes hard, but sometimes it's fun. Dead people don't have any fun at all." Also: "Whatever you think of your chances with cryonics, you have no chance at all if you're put in the ground like a piece of toxic waste."
Andy and Sue Blackall identified themselves as Cryonics Institute members - another handsome couple, somewhat younger. Andy said he was going to be perfused with Liebfraumilch. He gave some good answers to standard questions, but seemed to suggest that Walt Disney is frozen and Michael Jackson is signed up or soon will be. On the religious issue, he said he himself had a religious upbringing and there have been religious services in connection with suspensions.
Garrett Smyth (Alcor UK), in response to the usual " why? " question: "Life is an adventure and most people want more of it." After saying he planned to have just his brain (head) frozen, he said, "They [audience] probably think I've already had it done." When accused of abnormal fear of death, he mentioned that he rides hang gliders and motor bikes. He made several good responses to invited critics on the tapes we saw; but unfortunately, we are told, on one or two programs he has lost his composure and made a bad impression.
Michael Price, another Alcor UK member, noted that the scientists who say we can't revive frozen people (now) are missing the point (that future technology may reverse damage presently "irreversible.") He also noted that the cost of life insurance to pay for cryostasis is often less than the cost of smoking.
Michael van Straten (unsure spelling and antecedents) from the audience noted some of the previous nay-sayers in history who were proven wrong.*
Peter James, author of the novel Host (dealing with cryonics) said he had approached the subject a sceptic but ended persuaded of its rationality, and noted that billions are being allocated to nanotechnology. He reminded the heart surgeon that a few decades back the prospect of heart transplants would have been ridiculed.
Heart surgeon Duncan Walker merely ridiculed the proponents as "nuts" and smirked all through.
Dr. Allison Cook, a medical correspondent, in connection with the possibility of cloning or regenerating new bodies for neuro patients, said we "don't know how embryos develop." No one had an opportunity to point out that we almost certainly will know one day - this is a very active field.
Alan Maya Davis, a public health official, said a thawed brain "will be mush." (Garrett Smyth tried to counter with mention of the Suda cat brain experiments, but was interrupted.)
Physicist/cryobiologist Prof. Nicholas Kurti seemed senile - but then he seemed senile 26 years ago when he wrote a letter to The Times of London, saying "Once the drastic changes caused by freezing have occurred, repair and recovery are impossible." He also referred to thawed brains as "mush," revealing a monumental ignorance (or disregard) of voluminous literature (as well as our firsthand observation) to the contrary.
He also referred to cryonics as one of the "longest running scams in history," again revealing total ignorance or disregard of facts.
Science fiction author Annie Gay said cryonics is sick and egocentric. When asked by Garrett Smyth whether she would prefer to die, she said, "No, I would prefer you to die." When she complained about the money being spent on cryonics with so many people starving, Mr. Smyth asked her how much she spent on her ostentatious jewellery. Paul Michaels (at a similar juncture) remarked that he was under the impression that some of our money was ours to spend as we wish.
Bereavement counsellor Sue Wood opined as how the relatives of cryostasis patients would be in "limbo" like the patients, and couldn't take the necessary step of acknowledging the loss. No one pointed out that her theory is contrary to the facts - that many of us know by experience, as well as logic, that the emotional health of relatives is much improved when the patient is suspended instead of buried. ("The last thing most people do for their loved ones is throw dirt in their faces.")
THE MAIN OPPOSITION
Dr. David Pegg is a cryobiologist who often accepts invitations to appear as opposition on cryonics programs. Figuring out his psychology or motivation is an interesting and important problem.
On the one hand, he acknowledges that one cannot be dogmatic about the future, but he still says cryonics is "fantasy" and at the "present time has no scientific basis."
What he means by this, of course, is just that we cannot now revive frozen people, and cannot prove conclusively that we ever will.
Rejoinders are easy. By his implicit definition, it is "unscientific" to bet on anything that isn't fully proven. But - as just one example - scientists always bet their time and often their careers on unproven projects. (If it were already proven, it wouldn't be a project. Is the main activity of a scientist unscientific?) But we have at least two challenges:
1. Find the real primary motivation of such people and try to counter it.
2. Develop trenchant answers for talk shows. We have used several in the past; we now invite readers to suggest theirs. It should be short - a sound bite - and if possible convey the impression of biter bitten.
* Note - In fact he said that the medical profession had an execreable record of rejecting new ideas, quoting antisepsis and anaesthesia as but two examples. The latter was even opposed on the basis that pain in surgery was of some spiritual benefit! (JdeR)
Many people have heard of cryonics. It is getting plenty of coverage on television. By the time this is printed, November 20th will have passed with another interview with Chrissie Loveday, this time on Schofield's Quest. Yet many people procrastinate cryonics arrangements until it is too late.1
In the Summer of 1994 the Cryonics Institute received a telephone call from Australia. The caller had buried her husband four days previously, but had only just been able to recover from her grief sufficiently to remember that she had promised him she would freeze him. She head heard (incorrectly) that the Cryonics Institute would take a person up to a month after death and burial. Unfortunately, the Cryonics Institute will not take disinterred people for risk of litigation. Their first duty is to their patients in storage, and if they were to suffer litigation these patients would be put at risk.
In the same week, they heard from another prospective member who had been putting things off. An enforced hospitalisation because of heart disease gave her the hint that she should put her affairs in order.
However this does have an optimistic side. Under the surface a lot of people have been exposed to media coverage of cryonic suspension. Even in the UK books, magazines, radio and television have covered the subject as fact. In the cinema, several recent feature films have covered it in fiction. All these people must be thinking about it, as it is a particularly British practise not to discuss about nasty things, they have probably done nothing. However, when struck by the inevitable, as the above two examples show, they then try and act.
The difficulty then arises as to how to contact a cryonics organisation. People turn to the Yellow Pages and are often surprised that nothing is listed for cryonics.
I would like to suggest to any funeral director wanting this business that he includes CRYONICS in big letters in his Yellow Pages insertion. He may only be getting a commission from F.A. Albin & Co. (the UK agents for the Cryonics Institute), but nevertheless it is business.
I would also suggest that putting "cryonics" in a listing would indicate to any client who has something out of the ordinary to request that this particular funeral director has an open mind. The client's request may not seem peculiar for the funeral director, but most people know little about the business, so if a particular family wants a horse drawn hearse or a particular make or style of coffin they may be afraid to approach any funeral director in case their request is regarded as foolish. But someone who has indicated that they accept unconventional ideas is seen to be more likely to be sympathetic.
1 Chrissie Loveday's humourous novel Do It Tomorrow is about procrastination. It is to be published by New Millenium at £7.95 in November, but it has nothing to do with cryonics!
Many readers of Funeral Service Journal will have heard news reports about computer networks and the information superhighway, and even if they have computers probably thought that it is not for them as being too difficult to master.
However this is far from the truth, and indeed if used properly it can be invaluable for making contacts and acquiring data from around the world. A major player in the field in CompuServe, whose system spans the world. To access CompuServe you need a computer and a modem and a telephone line. It does not have to be a particularly large or expensive computer, and if you have a local CompuServe number then you can work with a cheap modem at 2400 Baud or less.
You do not have to be a computer expert to operate the system either. If you computer can run Microsoft Windows, WINCIM, the windows based driver is simple to use. If you can zap aliens in computer games and you can read, then you can use CompuServe. Using the mouse or trackball you can zap menus to get the function you require, the modem burbles away for a bit and then text you asked for appears on the screen. You can either read it, print it, or store it on your disk.
CompuServe can be used for electronic mail with anyone in the world and to most other systems including Internet. The price of 10 pence for a short (up to 3 A4 pages) letter is the same wherever your recipient lives! Delivery time is almost instantaneous. The letter is held for the recipient until he next logs onto his system when he can read it.
This is known as asynchronous communication. A telephone call is synchronous communication. The problem with synchronous communication is that both parties have to be available at the same time. A telephone call often gets the result "He'll call you back". When he does you are unavailable, and "He'll call you back" is the only result you send him. Busy people therefore find synchronous communication a problem. With electronic mail (email) the message is read and acted upon in the recipient's own time. You are then contacted as soon as possible, and if you are busy, then you can deal with the matter at a time of your choosing. One might expect such a useful system to be much more expensive than conventional telephone communication. In fact it is substantially cheaper!
Electronic mail can also be used to send one letter to many people. This is intended for company memos to be sent to offices around the world. It should not be used for advertising. However there are ways of advertising on CompuServe and Internet. There are sections of CompuServe (and similarly on Internet) called "Forums" which are centres for various subjects. There is a notice board, library and conference area. The first two are self explanatory, and the third allows messages to be passed between people in real time, but of course the parties have to be logged on to the system at the same time for it to work! Forums need text, ie information, to be given to them for nothing, and there seems to be no shortage of this. What is of particular interest to the business person is that they seem to accept informative articles from publications together with information about the publications they are from.
In my case, I publish a newsletter called Longevity Report, which is about the use of science and technology to extend lifespan. Topics run from vitamins, through exercise to cryonic suspension. Arguments for and against each subject are published. I have been allowed to post articles republished from Longevity Report on CompuServe forum libraries, with a notice inviting interested people to email me for more details.
CompuServe uses personal recommendation to get new members. If a prospective member wants to sign on and he knows someone who is in CompuServe, he can call their freephone sales number and quote the existing member's number. He then gets a membership pack with 40% off the price. The introducing member get credits against usage fees. If you want to join using my number, it is 100431,3127. The CompuServe freephone number to ring is 0800 289378.
Many people think that electronic mail is expensive. It can be if you don't use it carefully. CompuServe has a scheme where calls made between 7pm and 8am the following day are not charged usage costs. Therefore it is wise to organise your time to use the service between these hours. As stated earlier, electronic mail messages are charged at 10p each, which is much less than the cost of ordinary post, especially overseas. When you join, you contract to pay a minimum of so much a month, which is usually £6.60. If you don't use this up in charges, then you pay it anyway.
Most forums have a fee for using them, but there is no fee for uploading material into their libraries. These fees appear as items on your monthly bill. There are also charges for receiving mail from services outside of CompuServe, but you can elect to refuse to receive such messages if you wish. I have been on the system for a couple of months now and have not had any problem with electronic junk mail so far.
There are also databases and news services, which again cost extra to use. A particular interesting feature is that you can design your own newspaper, in fact up to three. If you follow a particular company on the stock market, you can devote one of them to stories about this company, which are gathered electronically from around the world. If you are interested in a particular hobby, such as collecting stamps from South America, you could specify this as the subject of your newspaper. If you subject is very esoteric, you may not get many issues, however. For fun, I selected the subject of stories about lawyers' high fees and complaints about them. The world usually coughs up about ten stories a week on this subject! You do not pay for the system gathering the stories, only when you read them. You can also read a synopsis, so if the story isn't really relevant to you needs you can delete it without reading it.
As mentioned earlier, CompuServe sells a program called WINCIM, which is a Microsoft Windows based operating system. You can very easily set this to download all incoming mail, upload all outgoing mail, and switch off. All this takes about five minutes and can be done outside of expensive time. You then read your mail, and create replies, whilst disconnected from the system. When reading news stories, you can set it to load them all to your disk, thus minimising the expensive time on the news service. You can then read them at your leisure.
When you receive an electronic mail message and you want to reply to it, you can "click on" (means activate with your mouse) a button marked "Reply", and the message headers are all set for you to reply. There is no more finding and typing the address, stamping envelopes and taking letters to the post office. All you have to do is to type the reply. You then click on "Out Basket" and the reply is put into your computer to await the time you tell it to send and receive all mail. A short message can be replied to in less than a minute!
Readers are now thinking that WINCIM must be expensive. Actually it costs nothing if you use it! When you buy it you get usage credits, which count against the use of CompuServe services. If you buy with a credit card and use the services within the month, you were no worse off than if you used the same services with Microsoft Terminal. This is a free program that comes with Microsoft Windows, and is not matched to CompuServe. Unless you are reasonably computer literate, you will find it quite difficult to use. If you don't have Windows (eg if you have a very old PC that won't run it) you can get a DOS based version DOSCIM. Although I haven't tried it, I should imagine it is very similar.
I would advise all readers of Funeral Service Journal who already own computers to consider very seriously joining CompuServe. If you don't have a computer, consider getting one for word processing for your business, with a view to joining CompuServe in a few months time.
I was recently introduced to another group that may be of interest to Funeral Service Journal readers offering assistance with cryonic suspension, or even just wanting to get their own estates out of the hands of probate lawyers and Inheritance Tax. Unlike many such organisations, the subscription is quite low. It is well worth adding to a portfolio of such subscriptions for those who want to diversify their sources of advice.
International Planning Concepts. [PO Box 107, Douglas Isle of Man British Isles] publishes a quarterly newsletter for £16 per year (£UK funds only, but see below for special conversion offer), covering tax, estate and asset planning, economics, politics and society. Their ideas on estate planning are likely to be of value to cryonics people and offer a different aspect to many US publications, as well as entry to European financial institutions.
Here is the text of part of the editorial for the first issue. It will be interesting reading for all small business people struggling against government interference:
Descent into another Dark Age?
Excluding catastrophe, a Dark Age descends on a civilisation quite slowly. So slowly that few people notice. It is not a decline in the quantity of information available or in the level of scientific achievement which causes a Dark Age. It is a subtle decline in collective wisdom accompanied by a change in social priorities. The last Dark Age for European civilisation was attended by considerable technological advances, especially in warfare (e.g. cavalry technology), seamanship (e.g. Viking dragon ships) & agriculture (e.g. the use of the heavy plough). That Dark Age was the direct result of the economic decline of the Roman Empire which was, in turn, due to a long-term degradation of collective wisdom & social priorities.
Why should an economy decline when information & technological achievement are soaring? The answer lies not in the quantity of information or technology available to the few, but in the quantity which is usable by the many. It is the latter which governs the long-term prosperity of the economy & hence the affordable quality of civilisation. The trend towards a Dark Age starts with prosperity & ample production. More people leave productive industry & go into so-called service industry. The principal service industries are financial services & (government) regulatory services. Both these service industries become increasingly disengaged from real production & services of intrinsic worth. Because of the high & relatively easy profitability associated with these service industries (& note that government services can be highly profitable for privileged suppliers) they suck in the bulk of the economy's financial resources, thus tending to starve productive industries of their capital needs. In this process more & more people become involved with the processes of distributing & handling financial resources & regulating economic & social activity. Fewer & fewer people have anything to do with the processes of production & the creation of real prosperity. Students spend long years studying the complicated intricacies of rules & regulations & of social/political/educational theories. Few are gaining practical skills for the survival & prosperity of the civilisation as a whole. The result is a cumulative decline in the amount of information & technology usable by the general population &, consequently, a long-term decline in the capacity of the civilisation to replace depleting real economic resources.
If the productive capacity of one generation is just 10% less than that of the previous generation, those who still care about long-term trends will notice the inevitability of the Dark Age before 2 or 3 generations have passed. Nevertheless, apparent prosperity may still increase during this time as an economy's capital resources are spent on buying consumer goods & services from other economies which may be in a different economic cycle (perhaps heading out of their last Dark Age).
"Age-ism" & Unemployment
Have you noticed that there is an increasing tendency for the unemployed to be skilled or professionally qualified people, especially older ones? Here are some thoughts on the matter. Feel free to challenge them. Are employees generally likely to be selected on the basis of being the best man or woman for the job, or is it more likely they are selected on the basis of how they will fit the corporate structure (i.e. will suit the personal priorities of the individuals responsible for selection)? With the modem cult of the whiz-kid, where people trained in finance or management can reach senior executive positions at relatively young ages, many of the persons responsible for selecting employees will be quite young. Have these people yet built the confidence to feel comfortable employing those who are older (& perhaps wiser) than themselves? Have these people enough experience to recognise that greater age may give rise to greater knowledge & experience? Is there too much emphasis even among older employers on trying to present a "young" & "dynamic" image to the public.
Ironically, the worst effects of age-ism will fall on today's youth. They have little to look forward to when they become too old. Nor do they have the full benefit of the experience of today's older people who have been able to learn from the experience of their elders. Today's unemployed older workers may be having a rough time, but how badly will the older workers of the future fare?
[Rights to reproduce the above are only given if subscription information and the address is given as above. Please don't reproduce further without including this information.]
[Acknowledgement to Mr Clive Wilkinson for introducing me to this group.]
United States readers will be particularly interested in IPC's ideas, which give a different angle to many similar newsletters offered in the USA. They also show the way into European financial institutions that are well outside US jurisdiction. Any US reader not wanting to spend the $10 costs of getting a UK bank draft can note that I will do the conversion for approx $4: send me a check (Payable on a US bank to "J. de Rivaz") for $30 and I will forward subscription request together with a UK cheque. (Or send me $30 cash, but at your own risk!) Please make it clear what you are subscribing to. (send to J. de Rivaz Westowan Porthtowan Truro TR4 8AX UK)
Voters in Oregon in the November elections in the USA made a historical decision by introducing an "Aid in Dying" Law.
A doctor can prescribe medication to end the life of a terminally ill patient, who can then elect to use it. Direct involvement by the doctor in ending the patient's life is still illegal.
The importance to cryonicists is that autopsy will not be mandatory and they can use it to extend their lives instead of terminate them. People with incurable brain threatening diseases can go into cryonic suspension before their brains are destroyed by the disease.
Previously, they only way they could achieve this was to end their lives by a food and drink hunger strike. This sometimes takes a long time to effect legal death, and is not pleasant. However up to now lawyers had insisted on what is termed "the concentration camp solution". They considered the suffering of the individuals worthwhile because if assisted suicide were allowed it would be more difficult for them to resolve murder cases.
At the time of writing, it appears that foreigners have to live in Oregon for a month in order to qualify, and naturally all the cryonics organisations are very interested in the possibility of a "deanimation facility" in the state. Long term, it is likely that other American states and indeed other countries will introduce similar legislation, unless there are problems in Oregon. This is because of economic pressures, which as we all know are far more motivating for politicians and lawyers than humanitarian ones. Undoubtedly we do need caution on this subject. Ultimately one hopes that humanity will win out, as we don't want the situation to develop where people are made to die just to make room for someone else, as happened in Nazi Germany and is sometimes suggested in fictional views of the future.
Here is the full text of the Act:
THE OREGON DEATH WITH DIGNITY ACT
SECTION 1: GENERAL PROVISIONS
The following words and phrases, whenever used in this Act, shall have the following meanings:
(1) "Adult" means an individual who is 18 years of age or older.
(2) "Attending physician" means the physician who has primary responsibility for the care of the patient and treatment of the patient's terminal disease.
(3) "Consulting physician" means a physician who is qualified by specialty or experience to make a professional diagnosis and prognosis regarding the patient's disease.
(4) "Counselling" means a consultation between a state licensed psychiatrist or psychologist and a patient for the purpose of determining whether the patient is suffering from a psychiatric or psychological disorder, or depression causing impaired judgment.
(5) "Health care provider" means a person licensed, certified, or otherwise authorized or permitted by the law of this State to administer health care in the ordinary course of business or practice of a profession, and includes a health care facility.
(6) "Incapable" means that in the opinion of a court or in the opinion of the patient's attending physician or consulting physician, a patient lacks the ability to make and communicate health care decisions to health care providers, including communication through persons familiar with the patient's manner of communicating if those persons are available. Capable means not incapable.
(7) "Informed decision" means a decision by a qualified patient, to request and obtain a prescription to end his or her life in a humane and dignified manner, that is based on an appreciation of the relevant facts and after being fully informed by the attending physician of: (a) his or her medical diagnosis;
(b) his or her prognosis;
(c) the potential risks associated with taking the medication to be prescribed;
(d) the probable result of taking the medication to be prescribed;
(e) the feasible alternatives, including, but not limited to, comfort care, hospice care and pain control.
(8) "Medically confirmed" means the medical opinion of the attending physician has been confirmed by a consulting physician who has examined the patient and the patient's relevant medical records.
(9) "Patient" means a person who is under the care of a physician.
(10) "Physician" means a doctor of medicine or osteopathy licensed to practice medicine by the Board of Medical Examiners for the State of Oregon.
(11) "Qualified patient" means a capable adult who is a resident of Oregon and has satisfied the requirements of this Act in order to obtain a prescription for medication to end his or her life in a humane and dignified manner.
(12) "Terminal disease" means an incurable and irreversible disease that has been medically confirmed and will, within reasonable medical judgement, produce death within six (6) months.
SECTION 2: WRITTEN REQUEST FOR MEDICATION TO END ONE'S LIFE IN A HUMANE AND DIGNIFIED MANNER
2.01 WHO MAY INITIATE A WRITTEN REQUEST FOR MEDICATION
An adult who is capable, is a resident of Oregon, and has been determined by the attending physician and consulting physician to be suffering from a terminal disease, and who has voluntarily expressed his or her wish to die, may make a written request for medication for the purpose of ending his or her life in a humane and dignified manner in accordance with this Act.
2.02 FORM OF THE WRITTEN REQUEST
(1) A valid request for medication under this Act shall be in substantially the form described in Section 6 of this Act, signed and dated by the patient and witnessed by at least two individuals who, in the presence of the patient, attest that to the best of their knowledge and belief the patient is capable, acting voluntarily, and is not being coerced to sign the request.
(2) One of the witnesses shall be a person who is not:
(a) A relative of the patient by blood, marriage or adoption;
(b) A person who at the time the request is signed would be entitled to any portion of the estate of the qualified person upon death under any will or by operation of law; or
(c) An owner, operator or employee of a health care facility where the qualified patient is receiving medical treatment or is a resident.
(3) The patient's attending physician at the time the request is signed shall not be a witness.
(4) If the patient is a patient in a long term care facility at the time the written request is made, one of the witnesses shall be an individual designated by the facility and having the qualifications specified by the Department of Human Resources by rule.
SECTION 3: SAFEGUARDS
3.01 ATTENDING PHYSICIAN RESPONSIBILITIES
The attending physician shall:
(1) Make the initial determination of whether a patient has a terminal disease, is capable, and has made the request voluntarily;
(2) Inform the patient of:
(a) his or her medical diagnosis;
(b) his or her prognosis;
(c) the potential risks associated with taking the medication to be prescribed;
(d) the probable result of taking the medication to be prescribed;
(e) the feasible alternatives, including, but not limited to, comfort care, hospice care and pain control.
(3) Refer the patient to a consulting physician for medical confirmation of the diagnosis, and for a determination that the patient is capable and acting voluntarily;
(4) Refer the patient for counselling if appropriate pursuant to Section 3.03;
(5) Request that the patient notify next of kin;
(6) Inform the patient that he or she has an opportunity to rescind the request at any time and in any manner, and offer the patient an opportunity to rescind at the end of the 15 day waiting period pursuant to Section 3.06.
(7) Verify, immediately prior to writing the prescription for medication under this Act, that the patient is making an informed decision; (8) Fulfil the medical record documentation requirements of Section 3.09;
(9) Ensure that all appropriate steps are carried out in accordance with this Act prior to writing a prescription for medication to enable a qualified patient to end his or her life in a humane and dignified manner.
3.02 CONSULTING PHYSICIAN CONFIRMATION
Before a patient is qualified under this Act, a consulting physician shall examine the patient and his or her relevant medical records and confirm, in writing, the attending physician's diagnosis that the patient is suffering from a terminal disease, and verify that the patient is capable, is acting voluntarily and has made an informed decision.
3.03 COUNSELLING REFERRAL
If in the opinion of the attending physician or the consulting physician a patient may be suffering from a psychiatric or psychological disorder, or depression causing impaired judgment, either physician shall refer the patient for counselling. No medication to end a patient's life in a humane and dignified manner shall be prescribed until the person performing the counselling determines that the patient is not suffering from a psychiatric or psychological disorder, or depression causing impaired judgment.
3.04 INFORMED DECISION
No person shall receive a prescription for medication to end his or her life in a humane and dignified manner unless he or she has made an informed decision as defined in Section 1.01(7). Immediately prior to writing a prescription for medication under this Act, the attending physician shall verify that the patient is making an informed decision.
3.05 FAMILY NOTIFICATION
The attending physician shall ask the patient to notify next of kin of his or her request for medication pursuant to this Act. A patient who declines or is unable to notify next of kin shall not have his or her request denied for that reason.
3.06 WRITTEN AND ORAL REQUESTS
In order to receive a prescription for medication to end his or her life in a humane and dignified manner, a qualified patient shall have made an oral request and a written request, and reiterate the oral request to his or her attending physician no less than fifteen (15) days after making the initial oral request. At the time the qualified patient makes his or her second oral request, the attending physician shall offer the patient an opportunity to rescind the request.
3.07 RIGHT TO RESCIND REQUEST
A patient may rescind his or her request at any time and in any manner without regard to his or her mental state. No prescription for medication under this Act may be written without the attending physician offering the qualified patient an opportunity to rescind the request.
3.08 WAITING PERIODS
No less than fifteen (15) days shall elapse between the patient's initial oral request and the writing of a prescription under this Act. No less than 48 hours shall elapse between the patient's written request and the writing of a prescription under this Act.
3.09 MEDICAL RECORD DOCUMENTATION REQUIREMENTS
The following shall be documented or filed in the patient's medical record:
(1) All oral requests by a patient for medication to end his or her life in a humane and dignified manner;
(2) All written requests by a patient for medication to end his or her life in a humane and dignified manner;
(3) The attending physician's diagnosis and prognosis, determination that the patient is capable, acting voluntarily and has made an informed decision;
(4) The consulting physician's diagnosis and prognosis, and verification that the patient is capable, acting voluntarily and has made an informed decision;
(5) A report of the outcome and determination made during counselling, if performed;
(6) The attending physician's offer to the patient to rescind his or her request at the time of the patient's second oral request pursuant to Section 3.06; and
(7) A note by the attending physician indicating that all requirements under this Act have been met and indicating the steps taken to carry out the request, including a notation of the medication prescribed.
3.10 RESIDENCY REQUIREMENT
Only requests made by Oregon residents, under this Act, shall be granted.
3.11 REPORTING REQUIREMENTS
(1) The Health Division shall annually review a sample of records maintained pursuant to this Act.
(2) The Health Division shall make rules to facilitate the collection of information regarding compliance with this Act. The information collected shall not be a public record and may not be made available for inspection by the public.
(3) The Health Division shall generate and make available to the public an annual statistical report of information collected under Section 3.11(2) of this Act.
3.12 EFFECT ON CONSTRUCTION OF WILLS, CONTRACTS AND STATUTES
(1) No provision in a contract, will or other agreement, whether written or oral, to the extent the provision would affect whether a person may make or rescind a request for medication to end his or her life in a humane and dignified manner, shall be valid.
(2) No obligation owing under any currently existing contract shall be conditioned or affected by the making or rescinding of a request, by a person, for medication to end his or her life in a humane and dignified manner.
3.13 INSURANCE OR ANNUITY POLICIES
The sale, procurement, or issuance of any life, health, or accident insurance or annuity policy or the rate charged for any policy shall not be conditioned upon or affected by the making or rescinding of a request, by a person, for medication to end his or her life in a humane and dignified manner. Neither shall a qualified patient's act of ingesting medication to end his or her life in a humane and dignified manner have an effect upon a life, health, or accident insurance or annuity policy.
3.14 CONSTRUCTION OF ACT
Nothing in this Act shall be construed to authorize a physician or any other person to end a patient's life by lethal injection, mercy killing or active euthanasia. Actions taken in accordance with this Act shall not, for any purpose, constitute suicide, assisted suicide, mercy killing or homicide, under the law.
SECTION 4: IMMUNITIES AND LIABILITIES
Except as provided in Section 4.02:
(1) No person shall be subject to civil or criminal liability or professional disciplinary action for participating in good faith compliance with this Act. This includes being present when a qualified patient takes the prescribed medication to end his or her life in a humane and dignified manner.
(2) No professional organization or association, or health care provider, may subject a person to censure, discipline, suspension, loss of license, loss of privileges, loss of membership or other penalty for participating or refusing to participate in good faith compliance with this Act.
(3) No request by a patient for or provision by an attending physician of medication in good faith compliance with the provisions of this Act shall constitute neglect for any purpose of law or provide the sole basis for the appointment of a guardian or conservator.
(4) No health care provider shall be under any duty, whether by contract, by statute or by any other legal requirement to participate in the provision to a qualified patient of medication to end his or her life in a humane and dignified manner. If a health care provider is unable or unwilling to carry out a patient's request under this Act, and the patient transfers his or her care to a new health care provider, the prior health care provider shall transfer, upon request, a copy of the patient's relevant medical records to the new health care provider.
(1) A person who without authorization of the patient wilfully alters or forges a request for medication or conceals or destroys a rescission of that request with the intent or effect of causing the patient's death shall be guilty of a Class A felony.
(2) A person who coerces or exerts undue influence on a patient to request medication for the purpose of ending the patient's life, or to destroy a rescission of such a request, shall be guilty of a Class A felony.
(3) Nothing in this Act limits further liability for civil damages resulting from other negligent conduct or intentional misconduct by any person.
(4) The penalties in this Act do not preclude criminal penalties applicable under other law for conduct which is inconsistent with the provisions of this Act.
SECTION 5: SEVERABILITY
Any section of this Act being held invalid as to any person or circumstance shall not affect the application of any other section of this Act which can be given full effect without the invalid section or application.
SECTION 6: FORM OF THE REQUEST
6.01 FORM OF THE REQUEST
A request for a medication as authorized by this act shall be in substantially the following form:
REQUEST FOR MEDICATION
TO END MY LIFE IN A HUMANE AND DIGNIFIED MANNER
I, ____________________, am an adult of sound mind.
I am suffering from ____________________, which my attending physician has determined is a terminal disease and which has been medically confirmed by a consulting physician.
I have been fully informed of my diagnosis, prognosis, the nature of medication to be prescribed and potential associated risks, the expected result, and the feasible alternatives, including comfort care, hospice care and pain control.
I request that my attending physician prescribe medication that will end my life in a humane and dignified manner.
___ I have informed my family of my decision and taken their opinions into consideration.
___ I have decided not to inform my family of my decision.
___ I have no family to inform of my decision.
I understand that I have the right to rescind this request at any time.
I understand the full import of this request and I expect to die when I take the medication to be prescribed.
I make this request voluntarily and without reservation, and I accept full moral responsibility for my actions.
DECLARATION OF WITNESSES
We declare that the person signing this request:
(a) Is personally known to us or has provided proof of identity;
(b) Signed this request in our presence;
(c) Appears to be of sound mind and not under duress, fraud or undue influence;
(d) Is not a patient for whom either of us is attending physician.
____________________________________________ Witness 1 / Date
____________________________________________ Witness 2 / Date
One witness shall not be a relative (by blood, marriage or adoption) of the person signing this request, shall not be entitled to any portion of the person's estate upon death and shall not own, operate or be employed at a health care facility where the person is a patient or resident. If the patient is an inpatient at a health care facility, one of the witnesses shall be an individual designated by the facility.
The citizens of British Columbia, a Canadian province, are unique amongst the people of the world, in that their legislature has denied them the freedom to chose the option of cryonic suspension. However the love of a couple for their 10-year old daughter led them to defy this sordid ban and achieve a cryonic suspension of a sort without direct confrontation with the authorities.
The couple had considered the option of cryonic suspension when they knew that doctors had given up on saving their little girl, and gave her 14 months to live. However although they had heard of the process, they were unable to find any organisations or anyone who knew about them.
However when their daughter died, they found a funeral director who knew of the American Cryonics Society and Biopreservation Inc. The funeral director had held their daughter at a low temperature and she had been "lightly" embalmed. Mike Darwin of Biopreservation (he was previously with Alcor) reached an agreement with them to retrieve the brain and take tissue samples. He warned them that it would be highly unlikely, under the circumstances, that full identity could be recovered. He said that the best outcome would be sophisticated clone. However a number of British Columbia physicians refused to take the tissue samples and told the parents bluntly that they were crazy. Eventually arrangements were made to ship the daughter to a funeral directors' outside British Columbia where Mike Darwin (having flown at great expense from the USA) would remove the brain and take tissue samples.
However their problems were not over then. Officials of the Canadian customs and immigration questioned Mr Darwin because he was carrying his surgical instruments. Other officials ensured that Mr Darwin only observed whilst someone else removed the brain and took samples at the funeral premises. The brain and samples were shipped to the United States for cryopreservation, and the remains sent back to British Columbia for burial.
The Cryonics Society of Canada say that these events show that it would be very difficult for Canadians to rely on Americans coming in to perform cryonic suspensions. They recommend that people arrange to have local funeral directors fully trained to perform cooldowns and transport.
Of course the Cryonics Institute already pursue this policy, and have appointed F.A. Albin and Sons as their European agent, and staff there have been fully trained to perform cooldowns and transport. It is likely after this Canadian episode that Alcor and ACS will find it necessary to develop along these lines, even if only for overseas clients. (One of the reasons their services are very much more expensive is that they send technicians to the sites of deaths to perform suspension, rather than rely on indigenous funeral directors.)
Depressive illness can lead to otherwise healthy people taking their own lives. One such person was Margaret Bradshaw, a project manager with Sterling Software, a NASA contractor. She lead a full and active life, which included learning to fly at age 49. However her depressive illness caused to do end her life in a desperate desire to end the misery. She shot herself in the chest.
As she had been a full member of the American Cryonics Society (ACS) since 1985 and didn't shoot herself in the head, it was decided to continue with her wishes to be suspended. However the mode of her death necessitated a police enquiry. ACS were fortunate in having the services of Steve Harris, M.D. and he was able to see them through the administrative hurdles.
Although an autopsy was performed, Dr Harris was able to get the pathologist to exclude her head from the procedure, do the examination as the first job of the day, and allow ACS to pack the body in ice immediately after the post mortem.
She was then flown to San Francisco where her head was placed in neurosuspension. This is the process where only the head is stored, on the grounds that future science will be able to grow a new body from the genetic information stored in it. Of course in this case future technology will also be called upon to cure the depressive illness - a task it shouldn't find too hard given what else it will have to do.
The deceased's family had been told about cryonics well before the event, and although some were deeply skeptical they were all most supportive. Margaret Bradshaw had been a guest on the Sally James Raphael cryonics show on US television. She put no restriction on the use of information about her suspension being made public in ACS press releases and other educational material.
Even so, ACS have to be careful with publicity. Although cryonic suspensions are not as rare as they used to b a few years ago, the press still get excited by them. Even though the client may not mind publicity, there can still be problems with members of the same family who are not so keen. The suspension team themselves may hold down jobs in professions that would feel threatened if they knew that one of their members was working in cryonics.
They plan to study these issues in more detail as a result of this case. In particular, they are to look at how the medical profession deals with experimental procedures, in which disclosures may help it in dealing with future similar cases.
Donating is a subject dear to the heart of anyone with a cause. People in general are reluctant to give something for nothing, and even in the relatively small world of cryonics enthusiasts this holds true. Some people, usually those with little to give, complain about it, others just take a philosophical attitude.
But what level of donation is appropriate? One viewpoint might be to keep giving to the poor until nobody in the world has a lower living standard. In practice, hardly anyone gives enough to impair his life style.
Recently on the Internet Robert Ettinger asked whether a cryonicist should impoverish himself to improve his (and others') chances by an unknown and possibly very small amount. Should he do this in the face of objections or need in his family? Few people will make substantial present sacrifices of any kind for putative and unknown rewards in a dim future. Just signing up for cryonic suspension is a leap of courage and imagination of which only a tiny minority have yet been capable. Additional commitment might well yield hugely disproportionate rewards, but we don't know that for sure.
There is also the question of whether one should give the maximum now, or husband resources so to grow wealth faster and be able to contribute more later. It doesn't apply to everyone, since not everyone is in an occupation where capital grows in any important way. And this question may be just a convenient excuse for some to procrastinate.
The Alcor Foundation are starting a drive to raise funds for research. Their project is called MAST - (Making Alcor Stronger Team). Their idea is to do enough research to attract funds from outside their membership by demonstrating that their team is worthy of support. Their first project requires $25,000 and sets out to find a better perfusate for their suspension program, and to develop a better field washout system. During their style of suspension it takes up to four hours to prepare their cryprotective solution. It takes two people and six hundred pounds in weight of equipment to perform Alcor's style of field washout. They want to simplify this process.
In order to attract funds, they are offering perpetual DNA storage for people giving $2,000. Those suspension members who give Alcor money for this will receive a $1 remote standby credit for every $5 that they give. (Alcor members use a process called remote standby. This is when people believing they are going to die have a cryonics team waiting at their bedside to perform the suspension as soon as possible after they are declared dead according to law. In reality, death is a slow process, and they believe that at the instant of legal death there is sufficient information still present in the brain for a future technology to reconstruct.)
The reason for DNA storage is that people's DNA can change with time and it may assist the reanimation process if DNA from before the time of death is available. Neither Alcor nor anyone else believe it is sensible to store only your DNA with a view to rebuilding you. What is the point to you of another you sometime in the future if it doesn't contain your memories and experience?
However, the Third Millennium Research Inc., of 5739 33rd Avenue N.E., Seattle, Washington, (zip code not known) will preserve a person's complete gene set in a glass capsule, complete with engraved storage. Customers must rub a finger on a piece of gauze and mail the gauze in, along with a check for $47. Enough skin cells apparently flake off to provide a usable DNA sample, guaranteed to last between 10,000 and 500,000 years. Alright, I suppose, as long as they don't try and make you think that this will mean you can be revived in the future, except as a clone.
Internet discussion about cryonics has also considered whether more research money would be forthcoming if it could be in the form of in investment rather than a donation. Of course in reality there would be little difference - it would be a long while before any such investment would pay any dividend or the shares grow in value. But people entering into to gambling arrangements such as lotteries willingly make such "investments" with chances of winning large amounts about as near zero as one can measurably get.
Unfortunately the legal profession make it quite easy to ask for donations but very difficult to offer investments, even if you make every effort to indicate their speculative nature. An investment program for cryonic research would mean that twenty to thirty percent of the funds raised would go to the legal and accounting professions. Consider the UK government's ill fated Business Expansion Scheme. All the income tax saved went neither to the investors nor the companies in which they invested. Instead it went to professional intermediaries.
An alternative may be to register cryonics investment schemes in a country largely free from legal duress, but this may make potential investors wary of a simple scam whereby the money is used to enhance the lifestyle of the promoters rather than carry on any worthwhile research. There are organisations such as Terra Libra (2430 E. Roosevelt Suite 998-RJ001, Phoenix, AZ85008, USA) and International Planning Concepts (PO Box 107, Douglas, Isle of Man) (to name but two) who promote private trusts in order to get around restrictive government legislation. However these still often cost serious amounts of money to set up, and probably carry a greater risk than projects produced by the established legal profession.
Another alternative could be to use Internet money systems such as DigiCash or World Trade Clearinghouse to facilitate a contract freely entered into by the participants but totally exterior to the rest of the world, by enshrining it in cyberspace encoded with the unbreakable PGP encryption system.
But possibly we should return from these flights of fancy to take comfort in the fact that no one has impoverished themselves to support cryonics. Because if anyone had, then this would be a major and justifiable weapon in the armoury of anyone wanting to oppose the concept. We must not lose sight of the fact that although cryonics is sensible because it is the only alternative to rotting or burning to oblivion, it is by no means certain to work. It is just the best chance we've got.
by Ralph C. Merkle,
Xerox PARC, 3333 Coyote Hill Road, Palo Alto, CA924304.
This paper was published in the Proceedings of the First Extropy Institute Conference, held at Sunnyvale, California in 1994.
Foreword by John de Rivaz (Longevity Books)
When I started Longevity Report, nearly ten years ago, there were no people with suspension arrangements in the UK. It took most of this time for Alcor to appear in the UK and for the first five people to sign up with the Cryonics Institute via Barry Albin.
Now this year several more have joined the Cryonics Institute, and there has been further press and television coverage. Both the Financial Times and the Sunday Times have run positive articles on the subject, and as I write more are to appear in popular magazines such as Best.
Respected scientist Ralph Merkle has written a persuasive essay on how revival may take place, and I reproduce (with permission) a shortened version of it below:
Most people, if they think of cryonics at all, think of Woody Allen in Sleeper, Sigorney Weaver in Aliens, or Mel Gibson in Forever Young. The hero, after spending decades or centuries in the deep freeze, thaws out gradually and somewhat painfully. Rather stiff from the cold, the warmth of the new era slowly penetrates into their chilled limbs until they at last stretch and look about the world with renewed interest and vitality.
The damage done by the cryonic suspension (and the probably poor condition of the patient before the suspension even began) are quite sufficient to insure that nothing even remotely resembling these scenarios will ever take place. First, there are fractures in the frozen tissues caused by thermal strain -- if we warmed our hero up, he'd fall into pieces as though sliced by many incredibly sharp knives. Second, suspension is only used as a last resort: the patient is at least terminal and current social and legal customs require that the patient be legally dead before suspension can even begin. While the terminally ill patient who has refused heroic measures can be declared legally dead when he could in fact be revived (even by today's technology), we're not always so lucky. Often, there has been some period of ischemia (loss of blood flow), and the tissue is nowhere near the pink of health. The powerhouses of the cells, the mitochondria, have likely suffered significant damage. "Floculent densities" (seen in transmission electron microscopy) likely mean that the internal membranes of the mitochondria are severely damaged, the mitochondria themselves are probably swollen, and cellular energy levels have probably dropped well below the point where the cell could function even if all its biochemical and metabolic pathways were intact. The high levels of cryoprotectants used in the suspension (to prevent ice damage) have likely poisoned at least some and possibly many critical enzyme systems. If the cryoprotectants didn't penetrate uniformly (as seems likely for a few special regions, such as the axonal regions of myelinated nerve cells: the myelin sheath probably slows the penetration of the cryoprotectant) then small regions suffering from more severe ice damage will be present.
All in all, our hero is not going to simply thaw out and walk off. And yet the literature on freezing injury, on ischemia, and on the other damage likely caused by a cryonic suspension forced me to conclude that cryonics would almost surely work: how can this be?
Molecules and people
Fundamentally, people are made of molecules. If those molecules are arranged in the right way, the person is healthy. If they're arranged in the wrong way, the person is unhealthy or worse. While a surgeon's knife does indeed rearrange molecular structure, it does so only in the crudest fashion. The living tissue itself is what really arranges and rearranges the intricate and subtle molecular structures that underlie life and health. When the tissue is too badly damaged, when intracellular levels of ATP are too low to provide the energy the tissue needs to function, when its own internal structure is disrupted, it can no longer heal itself. Today's surgical tools, gross and imprecise at the cellular and molecular level, can no more aid in this process than a wrecking ball could be used to repair a Swiss watch.
Technology advances, though. The Third Foresight Conference on Molecular Nanotechnology (Palo Alto, 1993) was attended by almost 200 research scientists, chemists, computational chemists, physicists, STM researchers, and other research scientists from a range of disciplines. By a show of hands, almost all think we will develop a general ability to make almost any desired molecular structure consistent with physical law, including a broad range of molecular tools and molecular machines. Over half think this technology will be developed in the next 20 to 40 years. A medical technology based on such molecular tools will quite literally be able to arrange and rearrange the molecular structure of the frozen tissue almost at will. The molecules in frozen tissue are like the bricks in a vast lego set, bricks which in the future we will be able to stack and unstack, arrange and rearrange as we see fit. We will no longer be constrained by the gross and imperfect medical tools that we use today, but will instead have new tools that are molecular both in their size and precision. Repair of damage, even extensive damage, will simply not be a problem. If molecules are in the wrong places we will move them to the right places, hence restoring the tissue to health.
Information theoretic death
This ability, awesome as it will be, will not let us cure all injuries. Before we can move a molecule to the right place, we must know what the right place is. This is not always obvious. Consider, for example, what happens when we cremate a person and stir the ashes. There's more than damage. We can't tell where anything was nor where it should go. We haven't a clue as to what the person looked like, let alone the structure of the tissues in their nervous system. This kind of damage will be beyond even the most advanced medical technology of the future. A person who has been cremated is truly dead, even by the criteria of the 21st or 22nd century.
This true and final death is caused by loss of information, the information about where things should go. If we could describe what things should look like, then we could (with fine enough tools, tools that would literally let us rearrange the molecular structure) put things right. If we can't describe what things should look like, then the patient is beyond help. Because the fundamental problem is the loss of information, this has been called information theoretic death. Information theoretic death, unlike today's "clinical death," is a true and absolute death from which there can be no recovery. If information theoretic death occurs then we can only mourn the loss.
It is essential that the reader understand the gross difference between death by current clinical criteria and information theoretic death. This is not a small difference of degree, nor just a small difference in viewpoint, nor a quibbling definitional issue that scholars can debate; but a major and fundamental difference. The difference between information theoretic death and clinical death is as great as the difference between turning off a computer and dissolving that computer in acid. A computer that has been turned off, or even dropped out the window of a car at 90 miles per hour, is still recognizable. The parts, though broken or even shattered, are still there. While the short term memory in a computer is unlikely to survive such mistreatment, the information held on disk will survive. Even if the disk is bent or damaged, we could still read the information by examining the magnetization of the domains on the disk surface. It's not functional, but full recovery is possible.
If we dissolve the computer in acid, though, then all is lost. So, too, with humans. Almost any small insult will cause "clinical death." A bit of poison, a sharp object accidentally (or not so accidentally) thrust into a major artery, a failure of the central pump, a bit of tissue growing out of control: all can cause "clinical death." But information theoretic death requires something much worse. Even after many minutes or hours of ischemia and even after freezing we can still recognize the cells, trace the paths of the axons, note where the synapses connect nerve cell to nerve cell -- and this with our present rather primitive technology of light and electron microscopy (which is a far cry from what we will have in the future).
It is interesting to note that "The classical methods for tracing neuronal pathways are histological methods that detect degenerative changes in neurons following damage. These staining methods provide a remarkably accurate picture of neuronal projections in the central nervous system".5, page 262 Such degenerative changes typically take days or weeks to develop. In many cases, the actual nerve fibre need not be present at all: "Some injuries, such as the crushing of a nerve, may transect peripheral axons but leave intact the sheath that surrounds it. In such injuries the sheath may act as a physiological conduit that guides regenerating axons back to their targets".5, 264 Thus there are multiple sources of information about neuronal connectivity, the actual neuron being only one such source.
If we can tell where things should go, then we can in principle (and eventually in practice) restore the patient to full health with their memory and personality intact.
Clinical trials to evaluate cryonics
How can we tell if information theoretic death has taken place? How can we tell if someone has been so injured that they are beyond all help, both today and in the future? The medically accepted method of evaluating any proposed treatment is to conduct clinical trials: try it and see if it works. The appropriate clinical trials to evaluate cryonics are easy to describe:
(1) Select N subjects.
(2) Freeze them.
(3) See if the medical technology a century (or more) from now can indeed revive them.
The clinical trials are ongoing (contact Alcor at 800-367-2228 or the Cryonics Institute at (810) 791-5961 [in the UK, ring Barry Albin on 0171 237 3637] if you wish to join the experimental group -- no action is needed to join the control group), but we don't expect the results to be available for many decades. Which leaves us with a problem: what do we tell the terminally ill patient prior to the completion of clinical trials?
This is not an entirely novel situation for the medical community. Often, new and promising treatments are undergoing clinical trials at the same time that dying patients ask for them. There is no easy answer, but in general the potential benefits of the treatment are weighed against the potential harm, using whatever evidence is currently available as a guide.
In the case of cryonics, the potential harm is limited: the patient is already legally dead. The potential benefit is great: full restoration of health. The medically conservative course of action is to adopt the strategy that poses the least risk to the patient: freeze him. If there is any chance of success, then cryonic suspension is preferable to certain death. This is also in keeping with the Hippocratic oath's injunction to "do no harm."
If cryonics were free there would be no dilemma and no need to examine its potential more carefully: we would simply do it. It is not free, and so we must ask: how much is it worth? What price should we pay? Part of this question can only be answered by the individual: what value do we place on a long and healthy life starting some decades in the future? How many dollars would we pay to see the future?
We will leave these rather difficult questions to each individual, and confine ourselves to a simpler question that is more accessible to analysis: what is the likelihood that current suspension methods prevent information theoretic death?
For information theoretic death to occur we would have to damage the neuronal structures badly enough to cause loss of memory or personality. The structures that encode short term memory seem particularly sensitive: they are likely not preserved by cryonic suspension. The electrochemical activity of the brain is stopped when the temperature is lowered significantly (as in many types of surgery that are done after cooling the patient) so it is certainly stopped by freezing, with probable loss of short term memory. But human long term memory and the structural elements that encode our personality are likely to be more persistent, as they involve significant structural and morphological changes in the neurons and particularly in the synapses between neurons. Thus, we would like to know if the structures underlying human long term memory and personality are likely to be obliterated by freezing injury.
The evidence available today suggests that the freezing injury and other injuries that are likely to occur in a cryonic suspension conducted under relatively favourable circumstances are unlikely to cause information theoretic death.
Not all cryonic suspensions are conducted under "favourable circumstances;" some circumstances have been decidedly unfavourable. When should we give up? How much damage is required to obliterate memory and personality in the information theoretic sense? What level of damage is sufficient to produce information theoretic death?
[The article goes on to give detailed discussion of cryptanalysis in relation to the pints raised, reaching in favourable conclusion in respect to cryonic revivals. Any reader interested in this is invited to view http://merkle.com/merkleDir/cryptoCryo.html on the Internet, or Longevity Report where the article is reproduced in full.
1) The Code Breakers, by David Kahn, Macmillan 1967
2) Maximum Likelihood Estimation Applied to Cryptanalysis, by Dov Andelman, 1979, Ph.D. Thesis, Stanford Dept. of Electrical Engineering.
3) Nanosystems: Molecular Machinery, Manufacturing, and Computation, by K. Eric Drexler, Wiley 1992.
4) The Technical Feasibility of Cryonics, by Ralph C. Merkle, Medical Hypotheses 39, 1992, pages 6-16.
5) Principles of Neural Science, third edition, by Eric R. Kandel, James H. Schwartz, and Thomas M. Jesse, Elsevier 1991.
6) The Molecular Repair of the Brain, parts I & II, by Ralph C. Merkle , Cryonics, 1994; Vol. 15 No. 1, pages 16-31 and Vol. 15 No. 2, pages 18-30.
7) Phase transitions in constraint satisfaction search, Tadd Hogg et. al., ftp://ftp.parc.xerox.com/pub/dynamics/constraints.html
1) The Code Breakers, by David Kahn, Macmillan 1967
2) Maximum Likelihood Estimation Applied to Cryptanalysis, by Dov Andelman, 1979, Ph.D. Thesis, Stanford Dept. of Electrical Engineering.
3) Nanosystems: Molecular Machinery, Manufacturing, and Computation, by K. Eric Drexler, Wiley 1992.
4) The Technical Feasibility of Cryonics, by Ralph C. Merkle, Medical Hypotheses 39, 1992, pages 6-16.
5) Principles of Neural Science, third edition, by Eric R. Kandel, James H. Schwartz, and Thomas M. Jesse, Elsevier 1991.
6) The Molecular Repair of the Brain, parts I & II, by Ralph C. Merkle , Cryonics, 1994; Vol. 15 No. 1, pages 16-31 and Vol. 15 No. 2, pages 18-30.
7) Phase transitions in constraint satisfaction search, Tadd Hogg et. al., ftp://ftp.parc.xerox.com/pub/dynamics/constraints.html
Introduction by John de Rivaz, (Longevity Books)
Cryonics is a complete waste of money and effort if revivals into good health are not possible. One of the stumbling blocks is that we are relying on future science to perform revival, and although we have ideas as to how it may be done we do not fully know when or how. Last month Ralph Merkle wrote:
Today's surgical tools, gross and imprecise at the cellular and molecular level, can no more aid in this process than a wrecking ball could be used to repair a Swiss watch.
The medically accepted method of evaluating any proposed treatment is to conduct clinical trials: try it and see if it works. The appropriate clinical trials to evaluate cryonics are easy to describe:
(1) Select N subjects.
(2) Freeze them.
(3) See if the medical technology a century (or more) from now can indeed revive them.
The clinical trials are ongoing (contact Alcor at 800-367-2228 or the Cryonics Institute at (810) 791-5961 [in the UK, ring Barry Albin on 0171 237 3637] if you wish to join the experimental group -- no action is needed to join the control group), but we don't expect the results to be available for many decades. Which leaves us with a problem: what do we tell the terminally ill patient prior to the completion of clinical trials?
Last month I published a couple of articles in Longevity Report that address the question of how and when. Brian Wowk thinks within ten years laboratory experiments will show that the brain can preserved reversibly, and Dani Elder suggests that 40 years will see mature nanotechnology.
I responded to the following comment on the Internet:
"Stay alive for about another twenty years, and molecular nanotech will keep you around long enough to discuss rats with your great-great-great grandkids,"
"Are we really going to get molecular nanotechnology in 20 years time?" Dani Elder's article was written in response.
But first, lets consider reversible brain suspension.
Feedback in Cryonics
by Brian Wowk, President, CryoCare Foundation
There is no true feedback in cryonics until revival is attempted a century or more in the future. This problem helps give rise to all sorts of half-baked ideas on how to preserve people, like mummification or chemopreservation. As long as revival is such a distant prospect, who can say what is the best method?
There are some conservative, indirect forms of feedback available today. We can, for example, study the microscopic and ultrastructural appearance of preserved tissue and compare it to controls. Most importantly, we can study the functional viability of preserved tissue. We can ask, how well do frozen and thawed cells and tissue function if we restore them to a physiologic environment?
Current CryoCare procedures use 7 Molar glycerol as a cryoprotectant, introduced into the circulatory system on a gradual ramp of increasing concentration to minimize osmotic shock. According to the above feedback criteria, we are doing pretty well. The appearance of brain tissue frozen with this protocol and then thawed is almost indistinguishable from control tissue on light and electron microscopic levels. Individual brain cells and synaptosomes can be restored to function after freeze/thawing with even poorer cryopreservation protocols than this. Recently it has even been shown that electrical activity can be recovered in brain slices after freezing to -90oC.
If research continues, I believe we may be less than 10 years away from demonstrating complete functional recovery of intact whole brains from low-subzero cryopreservation.
Once this milestone is reached, there will be NO DOUBT that cryonics is a viable route to the future. A strong legal case could even made that cryonics patients are alive and should be accorded the same legal rights as comatose patients in hospitals today.
Yes, there will still be severe damage to tissues other than the brain. It will probably take many more decades of research to perfect cryopreservation of all organs simultaneously (if this is even possible without advanced nanotechnology). But this doesn't matter. If we can preserve your brain perfectly, then we can hold you-- the essential you --in stasis as long as is necessary to develop the advanced tissue regeneration technologies needed to revive you as a healthy whole body.
While I believe very few readers of this newsletter will see ageing definitely conquered in their natural lifetime, I believe almost everyone here can live long enough to see brain cryopreservation perfected. So support your friendly neighbourhood cryonics organization-- your ultimate defense against the grim reaper!
Much speculation about cryonic suspension centres on the timescale of revivals. Douglas Skrecky has speculated that if people have to remain in suspension thousands of years there is a problem because no organisation to care for then could last that long. However if the period of suspension is only a few hundred years than there are plenty examples of organisations that have endure, even prospered over such a period of time. The longer people are in suspension, then the more remote they will be from the society into which they are revived. [Although they will be revived in the company of their contemporaries, and of course everyone comes into the world without any friends and acquaintances.]
However the most likely scenario of revivals that we can presently see is via Nanotechnology. Since this concept of manipulating matter one atom at a time appeared, cryonics has gained credulity. This is because ageing and freezing damage is due to misplaced atoms, and if we can put them back where they belong then we have a fully functioning organism again.
Manipulating matter this way externally, for example with an atomic force microscope, would be so complex as to be impossible. However we can do it nature's way, by using self replicating atomic scale machines. Such machines exist in nature, as viruses and bacteria. These machines already modify our bodies, although only with the intention of doing harm. However there is no intrinsic reason they should do harm, and it is perfectly valid to consider designer viruses and similar "machines" being used to correct damage rather than cause it. This is what Nanotechnology offers.
Here is one speculation as to when it may offer it (reprinted from Longevity Report 52).
By Dani Elder
The tech singularity is due in about 40 years. This is based on a spreadsheet projection that takes into account number of scientists and engineers and rising computer power, and the positive feedback of progress.
The "tech singularity" is the time of fastest technological progress, whether that progress is hyperbolic or s-shaped (levels off). After we reach the tech singularity we will either have reached speed of light and Planck's constant type physical limits, or we will have found ways to transcend them. Either way, life extension should be possible by then.
The critical factor in when the tech singularity occurs is when do computers reach, and then exceed, human-brain equivalent power. At that point, with projected computer production rates, you will be adding hundreds of millions and then billions of brain power per year to the world, with those brain power as smart as the accumulated software can make them. Instead of taking a generation to train, the computer based brain power becomes productive as fast as you can load the software. With the explosion of brain power, progress should suddenly speed up tremendously.
The human brain contains roughly 1011 neurons, 104 synapses/ neuron, and operates at about 100 Hz , for a total of 1017 bits/sec. A 100 MHz Pentium working on 32 bit data is 3.2x109 bits/sec, and you can buy about 100 computers for what you pay one engineer, or 3.2x1011 bits/sec. So we have about a factor of a million to go to be able to buy a human brain in computer power for about what we pay a human today.
Computer power doubles every two years, so in 40 years you get that factor of a million, hence the date I projected. If I am off by a factor of 10 in how much you need, that only affects the expected date by 7 years.
The killer question (literally) for me is whether we can get the factor of a million improvement in computers. The next few generations of chips are in the mill already, but will there be a limit too soon, in which case we will be limited to human brain power, in which case biotechnology may not advance fast enough to let us live a long time.
Something else that points to 2035 as a date of significance can be gotten by plotting human population on an inverse scale versus time. It turns out that for the past 400 years or so the trend has been a straight line with a intercept around 2035. What that means is the human population has been on a hyperbolic growth trend that goes vertical at that time. If you count computer brainpower as well as human brainpower, then the curve might be correct right up to the end.
Current thought in cryonics suggests that to get the greatest chance of revival clients need to be frozen as soon as possible after death. Although people have been frozen many days afterwards by all the major cryonics organisations, they do this very much on the basis of "this is better than nothing".
Most cryonicists don't spend their lives going around wondering whether they are going to die and making sure that they have contingency plans available at all times, although this does vary with the individual concerned. I do recall of one man who was so concerned that he may die in an air travel accident that he used to put on a special helmet designed to prevent his head being destroyed in a fire. The helmet contained various chemical fire prevention measures similar to the home document safes that have become so popular since banks charge £5/yr/document for safe keeping, (plus VAT, of course!) Most cryonicists are full of life and some like to do dangerous things or even just things that are more risky than would befit the public's perception of someone planning to live a lot longer than the normal allotted span.
Such a care free attitude is good for mental health and general enjoyment of life but nevertheless cryonics organisation do worry about how to deal with clients who present for suspension in less than ideal conditions. The Internet newsgroup sci.cryonics and the mailing list Cryonet have carried much discussion on the subject. This is what a Longevity Report contributor had to say (abridged and edited.):
by Douglas Skrecky
With the circulatory system being unavailable in many cases for cryoprotective perfusion what are the available options? The brain could be dipped in cryoprotectant, but this would benefit only a very thin layer of tissue on the surface. The major arteries could be injected with cryoprotectant, but with the capillaries being blocked by coagulated blood no circulation is possible. Something better is needed.
This I call the Pin Cushion Technique. Immerse brain in a cryoprotectant bath. Inject cryoprotectant into the brain via many very fine needles which are first slowly inserted into the brain, then slowly removed. Then do a quick freeze.
I feel this might substantially improve the quality of tissue preservation in cases of what might otherwise be lost causes. The advantages of the pin cushion technique are:
1. It avoids fixation.
2. It avoids freezing without cryoprotectant.
3. It minimizes mechanical damage.
However speed is essential if acceptable results are to be obtained. Transport from a remote site using just ice water as a preservative is not going to be acceptable in most cases, especially where death is due to cardiovascular disease. A better procedure might be transport in salted or perhaps glycerolated ice water to depress the temperature below the freezing point. Here the minor amount of ice crystal damage to the outer layers of the brain would be more than offset by enhanced preservation of the bulk of the interior of the brain. However if transit times are prolonged (>24 hrs) the best we could do would probably be a quick freeze using dry ice.
by Michael Soloviov
Embalming in Russia is associated mainly with the work of the Research Centre of Biostructures. It is the large laboratory which provides the storage of Lenin's body in Lenin's Tomb. Here it is named Lenin's Mausoleum after the tomb of King Mausolus in ancient Asia Minor which was one of the 7 World Miracles.
Lenin's Mausoleum is located on the Red Square near the Kremlin. Lenin's body is open for demonstration. It lays in the bullet-proof transparent sarcophagus at -16 degrees Celsius. The body doesn't contain brain, heart, lungs, and other internal organs (there were rumours that his embalmed brain is stored in the Brain Institute in Moscow). Once every 2 years it needs re-embalming. The body is immersed in the embalming solution for several months. Then the body is dressed in the resin coat and in the ordinary suit over it. The open parts of body is covered with the embalming solution each weak. The composition of this solution is a secret of the Centre. Besides usual components such as formalin, glycerin, ethanol there are about 50 additives.
Before 1962 Stalin's body was also stored in the Mausoleum. When his body was taken out, it was buried in the underground concrete sarcophagus near the Kremlin wall. As his body was embalmed there is some probability that still it is in good condition. Besides Stalin many other foreign Communist leaders (Klement Gottwald, Georgi Dimitrov, Ho Chi Minh, Agostinho Neto) were also embalmed by the specialists of the Research Centre of Biostructures. Last year they embalmed the former North Korean leader Kim Il Sung for $1,000,000. This embalming helped the Centre to survive as after the downfall of the Soviet Communist empire the Russian government does not subside the Centre. And periodically the State Duma (Russian parliament) discusses the possibility of removing Lenin's body from the Mausoleum and burying it in St.Petersburg near his mother's grave as he bequeathed (it was Stalin's idea to embalm him).
The Research Centre of Biostructures itself is located far enough from the Mausoleum (but also in the centre part of Moscow) in a typical research institute building of the 70s. It has well-equipped embalming and research facilities, rooms to simulate any climatic conditions, and a museum, where about 100 anonymous embalmed bodies are stored as control specimens. The first bodies were embalmed in the 40s by Lenin's method. These bodies were used as material for experiments to search new methods and solutions for embalming.
Now the Centre offers embalming for anybody after death for $300,000 without the maintenance service and for $1,000,000 with this service during 6 months. Nobody is reported to use it.
Besides embalming, the scientists of the Centre also participate in research on 2 frozen mummies (more than 2000 years old) recently found in permafrost in Altai mountains, on the Russian border with China and Mongolia. These mummies were thawed and embalmed.
Change is something that is essential to the concept of survival, whether of the individual or of a nation or a concept. Cryonics relies on a great deal of change, changes in technology and changes in the way society thinks, ie the law. Stagnation is often regarded as being synonymous with death and decay.
However sometimes changes are not always for the best and in the case of the concept of cryonics an end to this column is obviously not a step forward. However the new owners of Funeral Service Journal have decided to develop the magazine in new directions which do not include cryonics, at least for the time being. If there are other funeral magazine proprietors who read Funeral Service Journal and who would like to continue the series in their journals, then please by all means write to me.
I would urge all funeral directors to keep a note of Longevity Books' address in case material may be needed in future. If people wish to continue to keep abreast of developments in cryonics, a subscription is available to Longevity Report. Samples are free, and as a special offer to Funeral Service Journal readers, new subscribers mentioning Funeral Service Journal applying before 1 February 1996 may receive one year's subscription for £10 instead of the regular price. (UK addresses only for the special price).
I am sure that the cryonics movement in the UK owes a great debt of gratitude to Mr and Mrs Horbury who allowed this column in their magazine for many years. As time moves onwards cryonics will play a part in human history, of that there is no doubt. However the Horburys' action has played an important part in making it available in the UK some years in advance of when it would otherwise have appeared. These few years will mean that several people have availed themselves of the opportunity who otherwise would not have done.
I don't have any doubt that cryonics will work for some of the people who have singed up. The chances of it working for any particular individual are less, as every case depends on so many medical and legal variables. A sufficient number of people have signed up in the UK and Europe now for the chances of at least one or two of them being revived into good health in the future are quite good. Maybe those fortunate individuals would never have made it without the forsight, openmindness, and courage of John and Jaqui Horbury to publish information on such a controversial subject in which they didn't personally have an interest. They obviously got it right, as the size, quality and circulation of Funeral Service Journal increased substantially during their period of ownership.
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