Gunshot victims to be suspended between life and death [link]

by Dr_Manhattan1 min read27th Mar 201417 comments

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http://www.newscientist.com/article/mg22129623.000-gunshot-victims-to-be-suspended-between-life-and-death.html?full=true

- First "official" program to practice suspended animation

- The article naturally goes on to ask whether longer SA (months, years) is possible 

- Amazing quote: "Every day at work I declare people dead. They have no signs of life, no heartbeat, no brain activity. I sign a piece of paper knowing in my heart that they are not actually dead. I could, right then and there, suspend them. But I have to put them in a body bag. It's frustrating to know there's a solution."

- IMO this if (I hope!) successful, will go a long way to bridge the emotional gap for cryonics

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I've been hearing about the US military's interest in this for a few years; good to see it actually being tried.

  • IMO this if (I hope!) successful, will go a long way to bridge the emotional gap for cryonics

Hopefully, the legal aspect as well; if there's a long precedent of suspending people in emergency situations, that may lead to a willingness to suspend people in terminal / degenerative situations, which seems like it will make cryonics a much better bet.

This technique works on an acute timescale of half an hour to an hour or two, and slows the rate of injury accumulation and helps eliminate reperfusion injury. I'm not quite happy with calling it suspension. It's basically an attempt to replicate what's already been done for some time in delicate brain surgery in less controlled conditions. I don't think it has anything to do with more speculative longer term things like cryonics.

I'm not quite happy with calling it suspension.

I'm happy calling the stuff done for delicate brain surgery 'suspension,' but I'm not very careful with my medical vocabulary. Is there some distinguishing feature you think it lacks?

I don't think it has anything to do with more speculative longer term things like cryonics.

The people who are doing this are quick to disassociate themselves from scifi things- if they don't even like the name suspended animation, then they're surely not going to like a comparison to cryonics. But this becoming a routine response to extreme trauma will make cryonics seem a more sensible option to more people, and hopefully the things learned in doing this will lead to better cryonics practice (and, as I stated before, hopefully this will legitimize suspending people whose blood vessels we know are clear, rather than corpses whose blood vessels are in an unknown state).

I saw this on my phone's newsfeed a few minutes ago, thought "I should bring this up on LW", and...have been beaten to it. Fooey.

The technique was first demonstrated in pigs in 2002

Twelve years since proof of concept and they're only trying this now? Argleblarg. Sometimes I think my most likely cause of death will be the glacial pace of medical bureaucracy.

IMO this if (I hope!) successful, will go a long way to bridge the emotional gap for cryonics

Not to mention helping convince people who believe cryonics has a very low chance of success. I must confess that I'm in that camp. If this project goes well...well, it might not push me over the threshold, but it would certainly move the meter.

I hope the people at CI and Alcor are watching this closely. To my knowledge they haven't tried to raise anyone yet, and thus can't learn from the attempt. Presumably what this project learns will be relevant to what they do.

IMO this if (I hope!) successful, will go a long way to bridge the emotional gap for cryonics

Look how different this thing is from usual cryonics practice. That's how real research is done.

Cryonics (as we talk about it here) isn't meant to be research, it's more duct-tape engineering in the lack of a better option.

It seems V_V and others might be having a communications gap. I'll take a guess at the problem, please tell me if I'm wrong.

V_V is saying cryonics isn't proven, and has trouble advancing because we're not planning to revive cryogenically preserved corpses anytime soon and so won't get feedback. In particular, that on top of a fatal injury, you're adding trauma from freezing/chemicals, and that molecular damage will continue to accumulate.

Others are saying that cryonics is not intended as research nor as something in the same category as most medical procedures; rather it gives you better odds of survival than rotting in a cemetery. They expect the effectiveness of cryonics to depend not on current cryonics or medical technology, but on future development of technology. The question is, can we slow the rate of degradation enough that future technology can fix what killed us, any freezing damage, and any ongoing damage before our "soul" is irrevocably lost?

Currently, cryonics is finding use in the transplant of organs. Currently as animal research, mammalian organs such as blood vessels, ovaries, kidneys, and livers can be reduced to sub-zero temperatures and successfully transplanted. The combination of short term whole-body cooling, and longer term organ preservation, should provide some research and evidence for cryonics, in addition to making it seem like the logical course of action as people become used to the use of lower temperatures to preserve human tissue. Whether it works now is still in question, but if you know of better alternatives, please let us know.