You could say that billions of dollars spent on cancer research is a huge waste of money because curing cancer has not been proven to work in small mammals. There is no proof that cancer can be cured. I am not being entirely sarcastic about this, but I would give a higher probability for success to most of the Strategies for Engineered Negligible Senescence to achieve rejuvenation. Knowledge of the forms of damage that result in aging is the first step toward repairing that damage. With cryonics the problem is similar: there is damage to be repaired, and it is not unreasonable to believe that in 50 or 100 years the molecular repair technology will be available. It would be foolish to believe that humans will never be able to live on Mars until you see humans living on Mars. The ability to extrapolate from present technology to future technology requires more sophistication than simplistic empiricism.
Last October Aschwin de Wolf replied to misinterpretations of his
presentation at the 2011 CI AGM with the following statement
which he authorized me to reproduce at that time, and which I
will reproduce again here. -- Ben Best
** Aschwin's comments below *
It has come to our attention that our recent presentation
has caused some controversy on the CI members mailing list.
As far as we can tell, a lot of the criticism is aimed
at how other people (including Alcor Officials) have
interpreted our presentation. In our presentation there
is no comparison between Alcor and CI at all. As a
matter of fact, we deliberately avoided framing the
issue like this. Our presentation just summarized the
practical implications of our research for cryonics. One
of the most robust findings in our studies, and scientific
papers of others researchers going back to the 1960s,
is that cerebral ischemia produces perfusion impairment
in the brain in a time- and temperature dependent manner.
In cryonics such perfusion impairment translates itself into
ice formation. The real difference is not between Alcor and
CI but between people who do not receive rapid stabilization
and cooling and those who do. In ourpresentation we outlined
a number of things CI members can do to reduce warm and cold
ischemia, including relocation and ensuring that there will
be rapid cooling after pronouncement of legal death. We did
not use the phrase "2/3 of CI members" in our slides but we
did point out that the majority of CI members experience
prolonged periods of warm and cold ischemia - this can be
easily verified by checking the case reports on the CI website.
Such ischemic delays produce perfusion impairment and ice
formation. Most CI members can do something about the
probability of this happening to them, so this can hardly
be construed as an endorsement of Alcor. As a matter of fact,
speaking for myself, I prefer a model where a cryonics
organization leaves more flexibility to its members as to
whether and how to make arrangements to prevent injury to
the brain after pronouncement of legal death. We would never
claim that the ischemia that many CI members experience is
catastrophic because we do not know what future cell repair
technologies will be capable of. Of course, this should not
excuse people to limit postmortem damage as much as they can.
Having said all this, this does not mean that research cannot
contribute to mitigating some of the effects of prolonged warm
and cold ischemia. We made a number of recommendations during
our presentation and hope to present a more comprehensive set
of technical recommendations to improve CI procedures in the
near future. We had constructive exchanges about this with
Ben and Andy.
Concerning Mike Darwin's comments about the Curtis Henderson case, I suggest that you read the case report
http://cryonics.org/reports/CI95.html There is no incompatibility between DMSO and PEG. The PEG make the solution hyperoncotic as the expected. My big mistake, and it was a bad one, I acknowledge, is that most of the vitrification solution was ruined because I was not aware that PEG would come out of solution when placed in a freezer. The patient was, however, perfused with the remaining solution, and was very well dehydrated as the burr holes indicated. Note particularly the paragraph
"A number of CI Directors have become concerned that I have been modifying the cryoprotectant carrier
solutions without adequate testing. The components I have used have been extensively tested in animal
experiments and in clinical trials, and I have an extensive collection of peer-reviewed journal articles
documenting tests. But none of these articles mention putting PEG into a freezer. In response to
concerns by CI Directors (and my own concerns) I will not make more modifications to the carrier
solutions, and I believe we should return to using the traditional VM−1 carrier for the time being.
I have paid for some research to be done on this by outside researchers. Given the excellent
dehydration seen with this patient, I think it would be a mistake to return to an iso-osmotic,
non-oncotic carrier solution for the EG solutions. But I am returning to ordinary m-RPS-2 carrier
solution for the 70% VM−1. "
My mistake did not have the disastrous consequences implied by Mike Darwin. On the other hand, I acknowledge that it was a mistake, and I have not since made any solution modifications based on literature studies without lab verification by our researchers, Ashwin and Chana de Wolf. I do learn from my mistakes, and I admit this was a bad one that COULD have been serious, and I have resolved that it will not be repeated in the future -- or even risk being repeated. Others may prefer to say that having made such a mistake indicates my character, and will refuse to believe that I regretted my mistake and resolved to do better in the future. I will add that I have attempted to be very forthcoming about this mistake in addition to ensuring that it is not repeated.
Any funeral director can move your body. Most CI patients are shipped in ice or dry ice by funeral directors. Contracting with Suspended Animation for SST (Standby/Stabilization/Transport) can minimize ischemic damage. Three-quarters of CI Members with contracts and funding for cryopreservation have not opted for SA. Most people do not die unexpectedly, but for those who do neither Alcor nor SA will be of much help in the ischemic damage produced in those cases. SST is not available from Alcor or SA outside of North America, at present.
It is odd that Max would criticize CI for only perfusing the head in light of the fact that the great majority of Alcor patients are neuros (head-only). The head and the brain are the most important part. CI will perfuse the body with glycerol for CI Members who request it, but CI does not do this unless requested. Look at CI's Perfusion Preference document, which all CI Members have the option of completing when making cryopreservation arrangements: http://cryonics.org/documents/Perfusion_Preference.html . When the majority of Alcor Members opt for neuro, why rag on CI about the fact that the majority of CI Members opt for no body perfusion (or opt by default)?
In any case, vitrification of the body is not possible either at Alcor or CI at present. CI's vitrification solution can eliminate brain ice formation and even demonstrably results in hippocampal slice viability when cooled to -130Celsius and rewarmed, and is vastly less expensive than M22. I doubt that the extra expense of M22 is worth the difference. I do believe that it is important to make cryonics affordable, and I am pleased to be offering a lower cost alternative. Standby/Stabliization/Transport (SST) from Suspended Animation is an optional extra for CI Members, but SST is mandatory for Alcor Members. Only about a quarter of CI Members with cryopreservation arrangements have chosen to have SST from SA (I have chosen that option). I am proud that the comparisons page at CI does not involve a lot of breast-beating, but only contains objective information http://cryonics.org/comparisons.html .
Suspended Animation does not currently provides Standby, Stabilization, and Transport (SST) service outside of the United States. Cryonics Institute Members in Europe pay the Cryonics Institute $28,000 if they are Lifetime Members for perfusion and storage services. Costs of transport are additional, and if there is to be Standby, Stabilization, or Transport, additional arrangements can be made with funeral directors, local volunteer groups (of which there is a very active one in Germany), or EuCrio. You can make your arrangements with the Cryonics Institute for $28,000 and make other arrangements with others at the same time or later.
I am willing to help, in addition to the help you are getting from the documents I have written on the subject.