Volume 3 no 24. First published December 1990. ISSN applied for.
Robert Loius Stevenson's Finest Hour Bob Brakeman
Dr Donaldson's New Science Newsletter John de Rivaz
European Cryonics Conference Report Brian Blair-Giles
Letters (Dr John Walford, Mike Zehse)
Two Girls Looking Down from the Bluffs Bob Brakeman
(Reprinted from Offshore Medical Therapies)
Immune System Energizer.
Biostim has been sold in France since 1982, where it has become very popular. It is a special sort of drug which can make the immune system work much better and so help the human body fight infection. As we grow older our immune system begins to decay. In spite of medical advances, after the age of 25 we all have a much greater chance of getting diseases and illnesses which can kill like pneumonia, flu and cancer.
The Immune System.
When our cells become infected their surface changes and they become recognizable to macrophages. The macrophage attacks the infected cell and makes interleukin 1. Interleukin 1 causes T cells to multiply. These T cells can do two things A) they can produce interleukin 2 which turns T cells into T-killer cells which attack and destroy infections or B) T cells can make chemicals which promote the production of B cells. These cause antibodies to be made. The antibodies bind to infected cells and are killed by T-killer cells or macrophages.
Biostim will restore immunity in people who have a poor immune response. Each white tablet contains a natural extract made from bacteria1. The extract is made up of carbohydrates with a small amount of protein. The drug has been most widely used to treat chronic bronchitis and to restore immune reactions in cancer patients.
Biostim is a potent immune system booster which has a positive action in the fight against bacterial, fungal and viral infections. It stimulates cells in the body called phagocytes.
Phagocytes are cells which can take up and destroy any foreign organism which tries to invade the body. This process of taking up and killing alien invaders plays a key role in the body's fight against infection.
Under the influence of Biostim, the chemical reactions going on inside the phagocytes are increased and the production of interleukin 1 goes up (interleukin 1 is a chemical that forms a vital part of the immune system). This means that the phagocytes can destroy invaders much more easily.
It is very hard to measure the effectiveness of an immune system booster. For this reason all medical tests have been done using a double blind placebo controlled method. In
a double blind study neither the test subject nor the person giving the treatment knows which treatment any particular person is getting.
The effect of Biostim on three different types of immunity has been studied.
Humoral response: immunity due to antibodies in the blood.
Cellular immunity: that controlled by cells called T-lymphocytes.
Phagocytic function: the uptake and destruction of bacteria etc. by special cells in the blood.
The Effect on Humoral Response.
Two medical trials have studied the impact of Biostim on antibody response to flu vaccine. The first trial2 used young healthy volunteers. On day 28 after receiving the vaccine, many more subjects in the Biostim group had reached a level of antibody which protected them from infection, than in the placebo group. The second trial3 was carried out with elderly people over 65 years old. Similar results were seen, i.e. an increase in the level of anti-flu antibody. Biostim raises the level of antibody in people of any age.
The Effect on Cellular Immunity.
This has also been studied in two trials. The results of the first trial4 showed that cellular immunity was increased in test subjects taking Biostim. In a second trial5 19 people were given 7 day treatment with Biostim and the same results were seen. Even with such a short treatment period of 7 days cellular immunity was improved.
Blood cell function6 was studied in 20 people with chronic bronchitis7. The evaluation of blood cell function was made before and after a 3 month course, of one week Biostim followed by a one week interval of no treatment. The ability of blood cells to engulf bacteria was improved in the Biostim group. There was a massive 120% increase in the killing power of blood cells in the treated group.
Biostim protects you from infections caused by germs like bacteria, fungi and viruses. Four medical trials have been carried out in people with various lung infections8,9,10,11. Biostim led to a reduction in the number and period of infections which meant that much less antibiotic was needed. This was confirmed in another study done in Scandinavia7. Proving that Biostim can actually prevent recurrent infections.
Infection with Fungi.
Phagocytes are the main protection against fungal infection caused by yeast and Candida12. If you want to avoid fungal infection then Biostim is both safe and effective.
Biostim boosts special cells called B cells, these cells make antibodies13. There is a decline in the ability of B cells to make antibodies as we grow older. Biostim has a synergistic effect with antibiotics, i.e. if you take Biostim with them, then the antibiotic works much more effectively, which results in a much lower intake requirement14.
When Biostim was given to experimental test subjects before they were exposed to flu virus, they were protected from infection. It causes a much higher level of survival and stops the spread of virus in the lungs15,16.
It is the job of cells called macrophages to defend the lungs against disease. Macrophages make special chemicals which work with other cells to kill invaders. The effectiveness of Biostim in lung infections is due to its action on deep lung cells, and in particular macrophages. This drug has been shown to recruit cells (which is a sure sign of macrophage activation), to increase enzyme activity, phagocytosis and to promote interleukin 1 secretion. This has been demonstrated in animal and human studies17,18.
Chronic Bronchitis Can Kill!
Chronic bronchitis is a long-lasting form of bronchitis which is very difficult to get rid of. In France where Biostim was developed chronic bronchitis causes 20,000 deaths every year, out of a population of 54.3 million. Death from chronic bronchitis can be avoided by using Biostim19. Infection of the delicate lung tissues is the main cause of death in these people. Acute and chronic bronchitis is the fifth most common cause of people becoming disabled or having to go into hospital. The number and severity of infections means that antibiotics have to be used which carries the risk of making antibiotic resistant bacteria. Biostim has a unique action which reinforces resistance to lung infections. Many medical trials have proven that it stops airway infection. In people with advanced chronic bronchitis, Biostim both cuts down the number of infections and shortens the length of these infections. This means that less antibiotic has to be used. It is particularly effective for people who have had any previous infections, but it acts at all stages of chronic bronchitis.
In a special study20 over 300 elderly people were given either Biostim or a placebo (dummy tablet) at the rate of one course per month for three months. The number of infections in each group was studied. Compared to those who received the placebo, the number of people with no infection was much higher in the treated group. Those in the Biostim group were protected against infection for a whole year. There were no side effects. This study proved that Biostim is useful in protecting older and more frail people against lung infections.
Biostim is a natural immune stimulant and its safety has been widely tested21. The first safety study was carried out on mice. The mice suffered no ill effects and their offspring were also healthy. In a human study there were no changes in the make up of the blood and the drug was well tolerated by people with allergies.
Biostim enters the gut and is absorbed into the body. The product is lost from the system very slowly. It can act either directly on its target after absorption or via production of special immune chemicals.
Directions For Use.
If you want to get the full benefit of Biostim you must follow the instructions for use shown below.
Do not chew the tablets. They should be swallowed in the morning before breakfast.
Treatment: one course of treatment per month for 3 consecutive months, i.e.
First 8 days of treatment: 2 tablets daily, then stop for three weeks.
Second 8 days of treatment: 1 tablet daily, then stop for three weeks.
Third 8 days of treatment: 1 tablet daily, then stop.
Biostim is a very safe product. Many scientific tests have proven that it does not cause mutation or birth defects and its toxicity is very low, even at doses many times higher than are active in man. It is one of the safest immune system boosters yet developed.
If you suffer from an autoimmune disease e.g. Addison's disease, rheumatoid arthritis or multiple sclerosis do NOT use the product.
Do NOT give to children or pregnant or lactating women.
Do NOT use for prolonged periods. It is best to undergo a course of treatment i.e. 4 boxes of 8 tablets once or twice a year.
Each Biostim tablet contains 1mg of the active ingredient which is extracted from bacteria. The product is a potent immune system stimulant which boosts all three levels of defense against infection, i.e.
2) humoral reactions and
3) cellular immunity.
Biostim, by stimulating the immune system, has been shown in tests to protect against illness caused by bacteria, fungi and viruses. This action has been seen in both normal people and those with a depressed immune system. The effectiveness of a once yearly treatment with Biostim has been proven by medical trials. It can be used to boost immunity and so avoid chronic infections of the lungs. Regular use of Biostim means you have less risk of getting more infections and the lung infection attacks are often shorter.
1) Bruvier C. et al; In: Preud'homme J.L., Hawken K.A.L. eds. Abstracts of the 4th International Congress of Immunology, Paris, July 21-26th, 1980: 1980, Abstract 17.7.09.
2) Notto R; Data on File, Laboratoires Cassenne (1985).
3) Profeta M.L; The Lancet. In Press (1987).
4) Lang J.M; Int. J. Immunopharm. 8, 7 687-690 (1986).
5) Guerin J; Data on File, Laboratoires Cassenne (1985).
6) Nielsen H; Eur. J. Clin. Pharmacol. 30, 99-104 (1986).
7) Bonde J.R; Eur. J. Respir. Diseases. 69, 235-241 (1986).
8) Viallat et al; Poumon Coeur. 39, 53-57 (1983).
9) Carles P; Gaz. Med. France 88 25 1-3 (1981).
10) Anthoine D.G et al. Rev. Pneumol. Clin. 41 3 213-217 (1985).
11) Hugonot R.D et al. 6th Int. Congr. Immunology, Toronto, Abstracts 1.61.27. (1986).
12) Smets P et al. Ann Immunol. (Inst. Pasteur) 138, 425- 436 (1987).
13) Zalisz R et al. In: Immunomodulators, Spitzy and Karrer eds. Proceedings of the 13th Int. Congr. Chemother., Vienna, Aug. 28th-Sept. 2nd, 1983, PS3 1/1, Part 91,16-20.
14) Brossard C et al. In: Immunomodulators, Spitzy and Karrer eds. Proceedings of the 13th International Congr. Chemother., Vienna, Aug 28th-Sept. 2nd, 1983, PS 3.1/1, Part 91, 12-15.
15) Rudent A et al.; Int. J. Immunopharmacol. 4, 256 (1982).
16) Rudent A et al.; Int. J. Immunopharmacol. 7, 525-531 (1985).
17) Guenounou M et al; Abstracts of the 6th International Congress of Immunology, Toronto, 6-11 juillet 1986, 355 (Abst. 3.32.30).
18) Brambilla C et al; International Symposium on immunomodulators and nonspecific host defence mechanisms against microbial infections, Berlin, 6-8 mai 1987.
19) Piquet J et al.; La Presse Medicale 17 28 1441-1444 (1988).
20) Hugonot R et al.; La Presse Medicale 17 28 1445-1449 (1988).
21) Gepner P.; La Presse Medicale 17 28 1458-1460 (1988).
by Bob Brakeman
When The Body Snatcher became the second highest grossing film of 1945 it's success caused a renewal of interest in the works of Robert Louis Stevenson. The Boris Karloff/Bela Lugosi film had been based on Stevenson's short story whose nature was far out of the Stevensonian Mainstream (and far out, period)1. RLS's literary reputation had faded in the first place because of the boyish, naive, simple, innocent content of so much of his work: An Island Voyage (1978) was the calm account of a canoe trip in France and Belgium; Treasure Island and Kidnapped were children's books pitched to adults; Prince Otto (1885) was a Standard-1800s fantasy; and A Child's Garden of Verses (1885) was just what it sounded like. In an era like the l930s/40s, when realistic fiction prevailed, Stevenson's work was in eclipse beyond eclipse.
The Body Snatcher brought RLS's reputation back out of the umbra and the penumbra of that eclipse.2 The critics loved the movie as much as the public did. It matched its second-place finish at the box office with second-third place finishes on the year's critical lists of "ten best" films.
Any movie starring Boris Karloff and Bela Lugosi, and named The Body Snatcher, is under suspicion from the start - the suspicion being that it's a standard horror vehicle of the kind Karloff/Lugosi starred in repeatedly (together and separately) during the universal horror cycle of the 30s/40s. But The Body Snatcher is innocent (horrorfilled, but innocent); every element in it's production announced that it soared above the rest of the horror genre of the l940s. There was the High Literary source material. There was director Robert Wise,3 who would go on to win multiple Oscars, head the Director's guild of America, and direct such prestigious films as West Side Story and The Sound of Music. There was the studio, RKO, which intended The Body Snatcher4 to be its first high-budget, "serious", literate picture. There was the repetition of the Supporting character actors, led by the legendary Henry Daniell, who in many critical polls has been voted the leading character actor of the entire sound era. And there was Karloff himself. Although known to the public primarily for his prototypical/archetypal performances in the seminal horror films Frankenstein(1931) and The Mummy(1932), Karloff was known within the industry as a distinguished stage actor and a man capable of injecting subtle nuances into even a role as grim as that of the Frankenstein monster.
In The Body Snatcher he once again played the title character.5 The Stevenson story end the resultant film originated in circumstances which were (A) drawn from real life and (B) unbelievable to modern Americans. In the England of the early 1800s, it was illegal to perform medical research upon cadavers. Since it was also illegal (of course) to perform experiments upon live humans, there was no medical research worthy of the name. Any medical advanes occurred by accident, not by experimentation. The ban upon using bodies in research had of course been pressed upon Parliament by the usual/predictable coalition of irrationalist religious sociopathic forces, who felt that it was "blasphemous" to deface God's handiwork by cutting it up, even if it was deader than the average Congressmen's conscience. Physicians and anatomists and researchers in England and Scotland and Wales found that situation intolerable, and when appeals to King and Parliament proved fruitless, they turned to The Resurrectionists.
That grim name for grave robbers quickly passed into the colloquial language, and the Prestige Graverobbers quickly passed into legend. What differentiated them from Standard Graverobbers was not their motive (both subspecies worked for cash); it was, rather the motives of the people who hired the Prestige Resurrectionists. They were retained by physicians and anatomists who realised that the only way to increase knowledge of the human body and it's ailments was to dissect, and experiment upon, cadavers - and who were driven to break the law when Parliament made such experimentation illegal. Their law breaking of course took the form of hiring graverobbers to provide cadavers The Hard Way. The most famous/infamous of the real life resurrectionists were two men named Burke and Hare. They may have "Resurrected" as many as 200 sinners, but they were hanged only once each.
Not hanged was a doctor named Knox. He was the M.D. researcher who'd given the two enthusiasts their Graverobbers' Union Cards.6 The doctor understood that medical advances were impossible without cadavers to do research upon, and he was willing to risk his future for the advancement of science. Science was advanced, but his future was indeed lost - he was disgraced and imprisoned.
In The Body Snatcher, the suavely villainous Henry Daniell plays a character loosely modeled upon the jailed physician. He hires Karloff to provide bodies through G-robbing, and when he robs so many that future forays become risky (because the cemeteries start to post armed guards), Karloff's entrepreneur moves from providing cadavers The Hard Way to providing them The Even Harder Way. Since digging up dead people has become risky, he turns to providing his own dead people out on the street - by murdering them. Daniell's physician-character is willing to break the law to advance the cause of medical knowledge, but the statute against murder isn't the one he'd hired Karloff to break. What breaks down next is their relationship, and Karloff demonstrates to Daniell's satisfaction (and Daniell's dissatisfaction) that a Resurrectionist is no one to mess with. The Body Snatcher is shown about once an hour on late-night television, and it deserves it's continuing exposure, for two reasons. First, as was suggested early-on in this analysis, the entertainment-valueS are very high. To those values already alluded to (the Karloff/Daniell performances, the strong plot, the high-literary source material, Wise's direction) can be added: Gloomy, spooky atmospheric photography so striking that Edinburgh Scotland in 1804 will seem more real to you than your own home town; a touching subplot involving a crippled little girl being helped by the same doctor who's pursuing his Graverobber's Full Employment Policy; and a horror-scene so startling that it will stay with you forever. In the ultimate Thunderstorm/Lightning-storm, Karloff and Daniell careen in an out of control horse drawn carriage, and Karloff begins to slowly drape his body over that of Daniell, an event made more interesting by the fact that the lightning illuminated-Karloff is not exactly alive at the time.
But The Body Snatcher has more going for it than entertainment value. Immortalists should care about it for ideological reasons. The movie is one of the least objective films ever made, it has an uncompromising point of view - and that point of view is the right one.
It's a point of view7 which deals correctly with two key subjects. Societal conflict, and moral/physical courage.
The Body Snatcher cheerfully takes sides in the dispute between the religious irrationalists who barred cadaver-research and the medical men (no women, then) who knew that such research was the key to the future of the race. Henry Daniell's doctor-character has some rough edges, but he is presented as so life-affirming that Salk and Sabin seem killers by comparison. He's shown as everything immortalists would went him to be, as a man who understands that our physical selves are our only selves and that we should go to any lengths to protect/preserve our health and our lives. When that means breaking the law, he cheerfully breaks it. Those of us to who believe that the ignoramus majority will eventually legislate against cryonics are cheerfully prepared to do the same thing. Daniell's physician/researcher correctly sees that the collective IQ of Parliament is 6, and he equally accurately deduced that their views should be ignored. If the Political Thugs of our own time eventually do what some of us think they will, and attack immortalism in some way, we can look for no better a role-model (when considering how to react) than Henry Daniell's researcher in The Body Snatcher.
The film's point of view is also sound on the question of courage. The Body Snatcher begins by taking the right side in the dispute between the researchers and the bigots, and it then moves on to spend the next 85 minutes showcasing Daniell's character as the ultimate man of courage. Every shot, every scene, every frame, and every line of dialogue show a man who worries very much about what humanity's medical needs require and very little about what Parliament requires. He knows that he is risking at least his career and possibly his life (the hanging of graverobbers and their patrons was common), but he never thinks twice - and never thinks about not taking the risks. His courage is a glow which shines on all those around him, particularly his young assistant (as squeamish as some immortalists may someday be about "breaking the law"), and the little girl who must undergo risky surgery by Daniell, and his lab-helper (Bela Lugosi, in arguably his finest role of a 51-year career; if he'd thrown this kind of subtlety and feeling into his other films, he would have had the same high intra-industry reputation as Karloff had), and even Karloff the Resurrectionist - when graverobbing becomes riskier because the cemeteries are now being guarded, it is Daniell who urges Karloff to focus on the importance of medical research, and to have courage. If, at some future time, we Immortalist Pessimists are right and the Benighted Majority attacks immortalism through legislative means, we can take Henry Daniell's doctor as our model of courageous behaviour - and take his level of respect for legislative enactments as our guide to behaviour.
In taking the correct ideological side in the dispute between the religionists and the rationalists, and in highlighting the moral/physical courage of those willing to violate the law in a life-affirming cause, The Body Snatcher does the life extension movement some favours. I'm tempted to say that in gratitude you should take some Resurrectionists to lunch.
But they can't go.
1 The only other Stevenson story in the same (grim) league as The Body Snatcher was an equally famous one, The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde.
2. For those of us who love the Equatorial Seas of the Pacific (what the public usually calls The South Seas), Stevenson deserved to have his reputation rescued (deserved to have all good things happen to him), because he idolised the triple crescents of Polynesia/Micronesia/Melanesia as much as the rest of us; a guy (RLS) who chooses to be buried atop the highest mountain in Samoa is Our Kind Of Guy. (For more on Stevenson-in-the-Equatorial-Seas see my article Who Needs That. Published and republished by various general newspaper chains and immortalist magazines and available at the address below).*
3. For a detailed analysis of Robert Wise's career, see my article America's Most Versatile Director in the Spring 1979 issue of New Guard (1100 Woodland Rd, Sterling VA).
4. The Body Snatcher's fame suffers somewhat because the public sometimes confuses it with the 1956 and 1978 versions of The Invasion of the Body Snatchers both versions of that film are standard science fiction, while The Body Snatcher is High Horror.
5. OK, OK, "once again" is a little misleading, because in Frankenstein he did not, technically, play the title character. Frankenstein is of course the name of the scientist who creates the monster, not the monster himself/itself. The monster's first name is of course "The" and his surname is "Monster". But any reader nasty enough to push this kind of nitpicking may have to be punished by being locked in a darkened room being forced to watch The Body Snatcher during a massive lightningstorm -thunderstorm, at midnight, on Halloween, in a year which is both divisible by 13 and the Chinese Year Of The Witch.
6. Local 666 of that Union, the religious irrationalists would have said - with the Antichrist being president of the local. (And can it be a coincidence that this 666 allusion to the "number of the Beast" in the most Apocalyptic/crazed verse of the Book Of Revelation happens to occur in footnote number 6? In a recent phone-poll of listeners to the West Hollywood radio show Conspiracies® US, the resounding vote was "NO!"
7. The term "point of view" is used in two different ways within the movie industry; it's both a literary term and a technical term. The literary meaning refers to a film which attempts to "say something", to a film which has an ideological statement to make. But when used in the abbreviated form (POV), it is a technical term used in the final shooting script, a term used to say that in a certain scene the camera will film the action from the visual perspective of one of the characters, that it will show the action as seen through that character's eyes:
(eg: "SCENE 666: NIGHT/DOWNTOWN IN THE CITY OF THE APOCALYPSE/THE BEAST'S POV is taken to show that John The Baptist's prophecies have come true and Los Angeles was the new Sodom after all .....")
8. To a certain extent us Pessimists have already been proven correct: Six months before the Thug-Raid on Alcor in 1987, the present author published an article in The Venturist which predicted that that kind of raid would begin happening at some point (editor Mike Perry can (A) supply copies of the article - "One Darker Than Usual Night' and (B) confirm that our article predated the Alcor raid by many months - in fact an Editor's Note to that effect was run as a preface to the article. Naturally, as good little immortalists, us pessimists about politicians hope that in the future our pessimistic predictions will be wrong, and naturally (because thugs remain true to their thugness) those future predictions will probably be just as accurate as the 1987 one.
* BOB BRAKEMAN INC.,
2444, CROOKS ROAD, SUITE 49
TROY MI 48084, USA (No charge for reprints).
Bob Brakeman, the author of more than 2000 articles on Immortalism and Public Affairs, resides in Malibu, California.
Dr Thomas Donaldson Starts Science Newsletter
An interesting new newsletter Periastron has been started by Dr Thomas Donaldson, to explore the scientific issues surrounding cryonic suspension. He intends that the journal will discuss the scientific issues, and plans to publish most articles sent to him, and let the readers debate them. The first issue appears to contain material he has written himself, and this includes an appreciation of the perspectives of the Wall Street Journal, Nanoelectronics, LTP Outside the Hippocampus, Synapsins, Some Thoughts on RU486 (The abortion drug) Glial cells and memory, Gene Sequencing by STM, Calcium Binding, Astrocytes, and a number of shorter items. The intention of making the science understandable to non-scientists seems to be met in the first issue, and the editor will ask for difficult to understand material to be re-written. There is also a precis at the end for rushed readers. The newsletter is nearly the same page size as Longevity Report and runs to 12 pages. It is $2.50 per issue, and subscriptions may run for as many issues as the reader wants. ($3 outside North America.) If you pay for many issues in advance, you avoid any possible price rises. If the newsletter does not continue for any reason, unused subscriptions will be refunded with interest! PO Box 2365, Sunnyvale, CA94087. A leaflet describing the full subscription arrangements is also available. This is one worth following.
Top marks must go to Dr Donaldson for including an article on chemopreservation by Ben Best in the second issue. Obviously he personally is committed to Alcor cryonics, but the inclusion of this article and his comment - that although chemopreservation comes nowhere near cryonics yet it is only early days - shows that the newsletter will contain a balanced view of the scientific issues.
The rest of the newsletter contains a mix of science reports on ischemia, Alzheimer's disease, growth hormones, and memory and learning.
The European Cryonics Conference 1990
by Brian Blair-Giles
This Conference was arranged by Alcor Life Extension Foundation of Riverside California USA and was held at Gatwick Moat House, Gatwick Airport, England from the eve of Friday 26th. to midnight of the 27th. October, with a guided tour of the Alcor U.K. facility at Eastbourne on Sunday.
The meeting with greetings began with an informal gathering of speakers and registrants at the Conference hospitality suite, which gave opportunities to talk about Cryonics, the prospect of reanimation, recent advances in aging research and the implications of extending the human lifespan with the authorities! The main speakers in the informal seminars were: Saul Kent, Michael Darwin, Ralph Merkle, Garret Smyth, Luigi Warren, Carlos Mondragón and Ernst Fasan.
On Saturday, Saul Kent, the Conference Director, who was one of the launchers of the Cryonics movement, gave a short introductory history of Cryonics.
Mike Darwin spoke on "Cryonics carn save your life." - a slide lecture, which showed mitochondria rearranged due to freezing and ten returned to their original structure upon warming. Hoseman's experiments with cats' brains showed ischemia recovery after one hour, which is a god answer to the usual criticism that the brain is irrevocably damaged after five minutes. He stressed that the body is unrecoverable after burial or cremation, but with Cryonics there is a good chance of revival. One is legally dead when surgeons exhausted their medical skill. He described in great detail present procedures for cryonicisation and mentioned Dr. Audry Ursula Smith's and Prof. I. Suda's experiments with revival of small mammals even after 60 per cent of their water had beenconverted to ice. Nano machines may act like enzymes which repair damage in animals and plants.
Dr. Ralph Merkle gave a slide lecture about the Promise of Nanotechnology, including rapid advances in molecular computing artificial intelligence, protein engineering, scanning tunnelling microscopy, and other fields are leading to the ability to alter the shape and function of matter by manipulation of atoms with great precision (nanotechnology). One consequence of this is expected to be the development of very small, self replicating devices capable of engineering human cells in order to repair and or replace damaged components. Such cell repair devices could enable future medical science to restore patients in cryonic suspension to life, health and youthful vigour. He gave a long list of a variety of organs which have been cryopreserved and revived including a leg in vitro. For physicians death is a function. For cryonicists, it is just waiting for repair by nanotechnology when memory content design is retained.
A questions and answers session replaced the programme "Controversy over Cryonics". Then was controversy between a journalist and Saul Kent, who deputised for Dr Joseph Knoll, M.D., who had important governmental meetings in Budapest. She contested the support for Deprenyl for curing Parkinson's disease, Alzheimer's disease and slowing the age related decay of the nigra-striatal dopaminergic system, which is deeply involved in the brain's control of post menopausal longevity. She said he should not claim these unproven successes, which have only been shown in rat not human research. He had no right to suggest that small doses of Deprenyl, from the age of 45 years would help longevity in humans although Saul Kent and Mike Darwin, who claimed that it improved his libido, are regular users of the drug, which appears to improve their mental ability. An article by Liz Hunt in The Independent (page 3, 29 October 1990) mentions Professor Merton Sandler's opinions regarding these "highly irresponsible claims."
"The Cryopreservation of organs" by Pierre Boutron, Ph.D. of Laboratoire Louis Neel, Universite Joseph Fourier, Grenoble, France, gave a lightning performance with the use of overhead projector transparencies about experimental results which showed that we are moving closer to long term preservation of organs, e.g. the kidneys, for transplantation. He mentioned Dr. Gregory Fahy's choice of cryoprotectant: 10% 1,2 propanedol, 20.5% DMSO, whilst MRC Cambridge's Dr. Pegg used 1,2 Propanedol, glycerol, which penetrates more slowly avoiding osmotic shock. Solidification - freezing - vitrification! - This is an innovative technology that permits the preservation of biological tissues at ultra low temperatures - without the formation of crystals.
"The right to Cryonic Suspension Prior to Death": Thomas Donaldson gave answers to the audience's questions about his lawsuit to obtain the right to pre-mortem cryonic suspension, because he feels that, having a brain tumour, his best plan is to be cryonicised as soon as is possible because revivification would be easier, his local lawsuit was stated to have been successful [This is contrary to the information I have -ed] He may have a federal one as well.
A short description of the state of Cryonics in Six European countries was given by individuals of those countries. I had to remind Garret Smyth that the first Cryonics Society in England was the U.K. Cryonics, launched in 1969, and that there was a European meeting in Surrey, which Anatole Dolinoff attended, in 1971. Anatole Dolinoff mentioned that the United Kingdom was lucky with its Human Tissues Act 1961, which allows the use of bodies for medical research, including Cryonics, which is not possible in other European Countries except Russia. Another exception being the cryonicisation of Monique Martinot in a crypt by her retired Professor of medicine husband at Château du Preuil in the Loire Valley of France - which was a]lowed because it was in a sacred crypt.
For Italy, Dan David said that Art.5 of the civil code gave body freedom, Arts 263,320 Penal Code protects bodies and Art 334 says that in a state of emergency or necessity operation can be committed.
For Spain Carlos Mondragón: 10 more Spaniards joined for cryonicisation following the death of a young lady.
Austrian Dr Fasan signed to become an Alcor member and in his usual exciting
characteristics inspired the meeting with his optimistic overtures of wonderful life ahead thanks to cryonic research. German Radio interviewers had a field day. The Press had two days, whilst Yorkshire TV camera and sound operators covered the meetings splendidly, like most of the media.
"How to Take Your Money With You" by Saul Kent told of how individuals who are signed up for cryonic suspension can contribute money (and other assets) to the Reanimation Research Fund - an organisation wick attempts to reanimate cryonics patients and to provide contributors who are successfully reanimated with money to reenter society. LifePact services offers to help you and your new and exciting self in the future. R.R.F. is a separate organisation from Alcor, Inc.
Started in 1972 Alcor now has 1876 suspension members, 16 cryonicised (now averages 3-4 per year) 500 magazine buyers, 7 staff members: 6 full time, 1 caretaker. Once a month liquid nitrogen is replaced. There is a daily inspection. A Dewar Capsule's lifespan is 20 years. It may suffer from metal fatigue or soft seals. Carlos Mondragón continued: ln 1990, the cost of preservation of a frozen head is 45,000; a whole body, 110,000. In 1991 it will be head 51,000, whole body, 121,000.
Saul Kent said that Liechentenstein was chosen for the Reanimation Foundation for security reasons. It uses law firm Prasdial Anstalt and Union Bank of Switzerland as bankers. There will be liquid assets and a 1.5% lawyer's management fee. A member can move money from his account whilst he is alive, but his personal representatives can't when he is dead. Assets revert to revived people with accumulated interest. $10,000 is the minimum outlay for the initial deposit. Money given in a will is taxable, probatable and challengeable, whilst money given in a trust or life policy trust is not.
Between 23 and 40 registrant attended the lectures. About 35 in two coaches had guided tours of the Alcor, U.K. facility, so generously provided by Alan Sinclair, who paid 250,000 for it and hands it to Alcor. The tour included the spacious operating room, where suspensions are performed, the long-term patient care area, where patients are maintained in stainless steel cryogenic dewars, and ambulance containing portable cryonics equipment, and a conference room.
The hospitality was excellent and everyone was happy and thoroughly enjoyed the meeting and tour.
It seemed that Deprenyl was treated harshly at this conference. It was a pity that Dr Knoll wasn't there to defend it. The rat is a good analogue for humans, and it will take 100 years to test for life extension in humans. Therefore anyone alive today will not benefit from such research even if it is ever performed. Deprenyl is a remarkably safe drug even in Parkinson's Disease doses, therefore in the greatly reduced life extension dose of two tablets per week it must be safer still.
Some facts stated in this article are at variance with my knowledge of the situation. Obvious variances, such as wrong names being used, have been corrected, but others have been left, as the situation may have changed since my knowledge was obtained. We must all be very grateful for Mr Blair Giles to have taken the time to attend this conference and made notes and written this article for us, and we must appreciate that if he hears a name for the first time he may not get it right! Unfortunately I do not have time before going to press to have it checked more thoroughly, but if any readers spot important errors I will include an errata section in the next issue.
From Dr John Walford
You probably heard the references to cryogenics on Radio 4 morning news magazine programme Today and the letters of listeners about it on 26 and 27 October. [Unfortunately I didn't - ed.] The subject was topical because of the forthcoming conference. A speaker from Reading University told listeners that he thought "the chances were very slim" and a listener wrote about the difficulty of being out of touch with the world as it would be centuries in the future.
I hadn't heard cryonic suspension described as cryogenics until the commentator on the programme used the term and told us that it meant being stored as a whole body or a head only in liquid nitrogen until science knows sufficient about how the body works ...
Cryogenics ... cryogenesis ... Does that carry a rather different meaning from cryo-suspension? Does it imply more of a new beginning rather more than a carry on where you left off sort of continuation? Genesis and suspension, growth or repetition? We are looking at an aspect of cryonics and the problem of time aren't we? Cryonics and the problem of the arrow of time - Professor S. Hawking in A Brief History of Time gives three reasons for the arrow of time;
1 Psychological - everyone's experience.
2 The laws of thermodynamics, especially 2nd law.
3 The expanding Universe
? Can we add:
4 The laws of Biological life to which all biological life forms including humans conform.
Indeed is it possible to be biologically alive without conforming to biophysical laws? Though it is possible to think of being alive in other forms and ways.
The problem is in the last episode of Back to Methuselah which is entitles As Far as Thought Can Reach isn't it? I thought this play was saying that since reality is made of the alignment all variable in though form - Even in thought form reality still has to be composed of the complete alignment of all variables.
Do you agree that cryonic suspension and revitalising life forms have to conform to the laws of thermodynamics and the laws of biological aliveness?
When science knows sufficiently enough about how the body works (to perform a reanimation), how will it recognise that it knows enough?
It reminds me of that remark made in the National Geographic Magazine about clients of Trans Time Inc: Unable to defeat time they are attempting to arrest a natural process, ageing and death.
Do you think that remark was fair?
Laws, such as those of thermodynamics, are not the same things as government laws, such as those concerning motoring. Scientific laws are really general statements about what we believe at any one time to be principles upon which the universe or nature works. They are not guidelines to which people voluntarily restrict themselves in order to avoid penalties. Therefore the concept of cryonic suspension - that people can be suspended at the point of death and then recovered by future science - has to conform to the principles upon which the universe works, but not necessarily the principles we believe to be correct at the time of suspension.
However, having said that, I know of no scientific principles that query the suggestion that future science could revive suspension clients. There has been a lot of discussion over the years, particularly in The Immortalist, as to whether the program and data from the brain could function in a totally artificial body, even allowing for the possibility that it may look and feel exactly the same as a human body. Would adding features to the body such as optional user manual control of features that are always automatic in the natural version (eg falling asleep, digestion etc) change the individual's humanity? We won't know until we try.
Science will recognise it knows enough as a result of which it knows. I think the meaning behind this question may be: Who will be the first to be revived? What if the revival is a failure and the client is lost?
One answer could be that nearer the time when revivals look likely there will still be suspensions performed. It is likely that these will cost money and that there will always be people who can't afford it. Therefore suspension could be offered at a reduced fee to people willing to be experimental subjects, on the basis that each experiment will still be optimised to the aim of restoring that person properly. Clearly people who would otherwise not be able to afford the process would have nothing to use by volunteering. After all, there always has to be a first person for any medical procedure.
It is extremely unlikely that the first revivals will those suspended in our time, because techniques of suspension will improve and it will be easiest to revive those suspended under the most recent protocols.
The National Geographic Magazine may be factually correct. However if the writer wishes to be natural, presumably he wears no clothes, lives out in the open, and hunts wild animals for food and eats them alive without cooking. One wonders, in fact, why he has learned to write. Surely writing is unnatural, since it is not part of the process of feeding, sleeping, defecating and giving birth.
From Mr Mike Zehse
I certainly emphasise with Mrs Littledale's observation that employment all too often entails the loss (or at any rate the erosion) of one's personal identity.
What I find most unsettling about it is the level of triviality to which one is supposed to accustom oneself as the normal modus vivendi.
With regards to her ailment - I read that Van Gough may have been suffering from Meniérè's disease - hence the swirling motifs of his paintings and the symbolic auto amputation of his ear.
James V-- opines that "it might be no bad thing" for professional people "to sweat it out on menial work now and then." Surely in the future nanotechnological robots will be doing all the menial jobs. I share his irritation at Yuppie colour-supplement conformism - the dreary platitudes of middle class lifestyles etc.
He says he would not take a 18,000 house in a poor area of Liverpool as a gift. If he knows of anyone who is offering such a gift would he ask the benefactor to get in touch with me. I'd gladly accept it.
Do gold and real estate have real value? (Ben Best's article, p13)
May I suggest that authors' addresses be printed if they so desire? Mine is: 80 Hordle Promenade North, Peckham, London SE15 6HU.
Two Girls Looking Down From the Bluffs:
The Ideology of The Bridge on the River Kwai
by Bob Brakeman
Anti-war movies are a dime a dozen, possibly a nickel. But some films of that type expand their ideological scope and become explicitly anti-death films. Their point of view is that what is evil about war is that it' s such am efficient producer of death in the giant economy size; the real issue is dying itself, in all its forms and all its sizes.
The Bridge on the River Kwai (1957) is the best example of that kind of film. In its dialogue and its action and the intentions of its makers, Kwai is the archetype/prototype of the anti-death film masquerading as just an anti-war film.
Since director David Lean turned in a nice pro-life job in The Bridge on the River Kwai,
Its appropriate that the movie changed his life. In addition to making him a multimillionaire (having a percentage of the gross is a very good idea, when
the gross turns out to be $123 million), this production deflected him, forever, from the intimate dramas which had make his reputation1 toward the super epics which dominate the rest of his career. From The Bridge on the River Kwai he went on to the equally mammoth Lawrence of Arabia (1962) and Doctor Zhivago (1965) and Ryan's Daughter (1970)2 and A Passage to India (1984).
But none of those would have come to pass without The Bridge on the River Kwai, a movie full of anti-death commentary. Many characters in the film make those kinds of comments, and in every case they are explicitly directed against death - period, not just war-deaths. For example, there is the case of the hero/cynic Shears, played by William Holden3. When Holden's character is in a Japanese P.0.W. camp, he's appalled that the British Colonel played by Sir Alec Guinness risks his own life and those of his officers over the specific wording of a section of the Geneva Convention on the rules of war. Holden sees as the British officers do not, that it is life that matters, not the day-today trivia (including words-on-paper) that dominate the minds of people like Colonel Nicholson.
And Holden4 remains in character later, when after having escaped from the POW camp, he is coerced into leading British Commando force back to blow up the bridge being built on the nearby River Kwai. In a confrontation with the beyond-gung-ho British Commando played by Jack Hawkins, he announces that Hawkins makes him sick, and then adds:
"With you it's always how to die with honour and die like a gentleman, when the only thing that matters is how to live like a human being." Can't get much better than that, in terms of both the clarity of the statement and the fact that Holden is attacking death generally, not just war.
Similarly, when the Hawkins/Commando character is being his usual let's-kill--or--be-killed-and-have-a-good-time self, Holden shuts him up by telling him that the "stench of death" is all about him, and that he carries it in his pack along with his rations. Once again, there is both extreme bluntness and an extremely explicit anti-death ethic, not just an anti-war one.
An equally blunt comment comes from another key character, played by the excellent British actor James Donald. The character is that of the PO camp's doctor, and when Holden and Colonel Nicholson and Commando Geoffrey Horne5 and Sessue Heyakawa6 (the Japanese commander of the camp) are all lying dead-for-nothing in the waters of the Kwai, Donald pronounces judgment on all the killing and all the dying:
He then surveys the scene (which includes hundreds of Japanese killed when their train went down as the commandos, before dying, successfully blew up the bridge) in more detail , and he is so stunned by all the pointless loss of life that he can do no more than repeat himself:
The Commando Force sent to blow up the bridge had originally consisted of four men, Holden/Hawkins/Horne plus a soldier who was killed during their parachute drop into the area, when his chute got caught in the trees. Later, when Hawkins is in one of his isn't-this-a-swell-adventure-we're-having periods, Holden suggests that he tell that to the guy hanging in the tree with a broken neck.
There are a couple of dozen additional examples of explicitly anti-death statements/actions in The Bridge on the River Kwai, but for reasons of space let's list just two more. One is the simple existence of the Holden character, who spends the entire film, when not talking, shaking his head at the eager-to-die British and the eager-to-die Japanese. The underrated Holden was an actor who looked too good for his own good: His classic face made him into a dominant star of his time, but it deflected attention from his acting ability; he was a performer who could accomplish as much with facial expressions as other actors could with dialogue, and in The Bridge on the River Kwai his facial expressions register profound disgust and anger repeatedly, as he sees himself surrounded by people who embrace death with all the enthusiasm of a member of Congress embracing the briefcase full of hundred dollar bills.
The other additional example is some more nice work done without dialogue. On the long struggle through the Thai jungle to get to the Kwai to blow up the bridge, two of the commandos (Holden and Geoffrey Horne) begin to become emotionally attached to two of the Thai girls who are serving as bearers. When Horne is later machinegunned on the shore of the Kwai, director Lean did not punctuate the event with any commentary from the girl to whom he had become attached, and who had become attached to him. Instead there was simply a quick shot of her face, as she sees Horne die. In that face is all that needs to be said about life versus death. Then when, moments later, Holden is also killed on a little beach beside the River Kwai, the girl with whom he had formed an emotional bond is shown in a quick reaction shot, and it is clear that she understands the nature of the universe, and what matters, and what does not.
Finally, it's important to say a little about the intentions of the film makers. The Bridge on the River Kwai didn't come out the way it did by accident. In various interviews and private comments, all of the following people have made it clear that they went into the project intending to promulgate just the ideology described in this article. Director David Lean; Producer Sam Spiegel ; screenwriter Carl Foreman, and Pierre Boulle, who wrote the book on which the film was based. They intended to make an anti-death/pro-life statement, and they succeeded in as big a way as the film succeeded at the box office.
So let their success help you out, if you ever need help of a certain kind. If you ever momentarily waver in your belief in the importance of the anti-death struggle, simply picture the cove-indented shoreline of the River Kwai, the died-for-nothing forms of William Holden and Geoffrey Horne, and the faces of two girls looking down from the bluffs.
l. The best example of early Lean is the l945 gem Brief Encounter, starring Trevor Howard and Celia Johnson in a classic romantic story.
2. Ryan's Daughter, in addition to being famous for its mammoth scale, is often voted (certainly by me) the most scenically beautiful film ever made. For huge size it gives you the entire history of the British occupation of Ireland; for memorable scenery it gives you the green-beyond-green west coast of Ireland.
3. Holden's drinking eventually killed him (in a 1981 accident at home in Santa Monica), but in 1957 it did him a favour., He was trying to decide between taking a high salary for The Bridge on the River Kwai, or taking a lower salary plus a percentage of the gross. While drunk he decided on the percentage, and the decision made him very wealthy.
4. Holden's pro-life cynicism in The Bridge on the River Kwai has a lot in common with his earlier character in STALAG 17 (1953), for which he won the Best Actor Oscar.
5. Geoffrey Horne was a young American performer out of the Actor's Studio in New York. Columbia Pictures intended The Bridge on the River Kwai to make him a star, but after concluding that Hollywood wasn't a very nice place (smart boy) he got out of the business.
6. Legendary Japanese-American author Hayakawa was a huge silent star (more fan mail than Douglas Fairbanks at one point), and in the talkie era he was nearly always perfect as he drifted into character roles (Oscar nomination for The Bridge on the River Kwai as Best Supporting Actor; Alec Guiness won as best Actor
(A) As has been pointed out throughout this analysis, The Bridge on the River Kwai should be seen as an anti-death film, not just an anti-war one; but of course it is also anti-war, for the latter category is contained within the former. The anti-war nature of The Bridge on the River Kwai creates a bit of an irony, for this reason. Because its action sequences are so striking and dramatic, The Bridge on the River Kwai is at once both the best war film and the best anti-war film ever made. ("War film" in the preceding sentence should of course be read to mean "about war", not "pro war").
(B) An assortment of articles by the present author deal with various side-issues of the Kwai saga. Among them are the following: Anti-death Ethics in Strange Places, an analysis of another anti-death film, the Clint Eastwood western The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly; Touring the World Through the Movies: the 100 Most Scenically-Beautiful Films, one entry of which deals with David Lean's Ryan's daughter; Black Sunday and Black Sabbath, which examines the anti-death/pro-life ethics of those two movies; Two Teenagers Make Good, about the young team that made what is, along with The Bridge on the River Kwai, the greatest of the anti-war war movies, All Quiet on the Western Front; Death is not Good for You, which deals with playwright/screenwriter Lawrence Stallings, who wrote pro-life views into plays like What Price Glory? and films like She Wore a Yellow Ribbon; and The Man Who Surfaced Twice, about Maxwell Anderson, who collaborated with Stallings on What Price Glory? and also wrote the screenplay for All Quiet on the Western Front.
All those articles have been published/republished in various libertarian, general, and immortalist publications in the US and abroad; they're most readily available now by writing to the following address (no charge for reprints): Bob Brakeman Inc./2444 Crooks Road Suite 49/Troy Michigan 48084/USA.
Bob Brakeman, the author of more than 2000 articles on Immortalism and Public Affairs, resides in Malibu, California.
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