View Full Version : Thaw that frozen stiff NOW!!!
03-20-2001, 11:10 PM
We all heard of cryogenics...the practice of freezing dead people in hopes of the future, when they could be thawed out and cured of whatever killed them.
Supposed someone died of liver failure 20 years ago.
Today a tissue-typed match liver is available.
Has anyone tried to thaw out and revive a frozen body to apply a treatment or cure thats available today?
Also, what would the legal status of such an undead person be?
03-21-2001, 02:51 AM
I really don't know much about this, but since no one else has responded, I'll give it a try.
There have been, I guess, several (terminally ill) people who have been frozen, in the hope that they may one day be revived when medicine has advance far enough to cure their ilness. The first was in the mid 60's, around the time of Walt Disney's death (of cancer), leading to the (completely untrue) rumor (http://www.snopes2.com/disney/waltdisn/frozen.htm#add) that Disney himself had chosen to be frozen.
(You may actually be able to find out more about cryonics in general from one of the links off that site, I haven't checked it very closely).
Anyway, no, nobody has ever been brought back from it. I don't have an educated enough opinion to really say much of whether or not it could be done. I asked a biologist friend of mine some years back what he thought of it, he thought the ice crystals would lacerate the organs so they would never be able to function again. IIRC, I think I also asked him about the possibility of dehydrating the body beforehand, but he didn't seem to think that was feasible, either.
03-21-2001, 06:11 AM
This site (http://www.alcor.org/01b.html) has a discussion of commercial cryonics, including some description of the (ahem) technical challenges involved in revivals.
Basically, whatever actually killed a cryonics patient is the least of their worries. Ice crystal formation is limited, but by no means eliminated, by the preservation process (basically, they replace as much water in the body as they can with glycerol); in addition, they mention "large scale discontinuities in tissue may be produced by thermal nonuniformities", which I take to mean that different sorts of tissue contract to different degrees as they're frozen - result: stress fractures.
Finally, many cryonics patients take the cheaper "neuro" option... it's cheaper because only their major neurological components (their heads - possibly spinal cord as well, I don't know for sure) are preserved. Liver transplants are within modern medical capabilities, sure, but whole body transplants... not yet.
I'm afraid that, for the foreseeable future at least, cryonic preservation is just a very high-tech (and expensive) sort of funeral.
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