All of benbest's Comments + Replies

Neil deGrasse Tyson on Cryonics

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 i... (read more)

If what you say were true - we "never cured cancer in small mammals" - then yes, the conclusion that cancer research is bullshit would have some merit.

But since we did cure a variety of cancers in small mammals, and since we are constantly (if slowly) improving both length of survival and cure rates in humans, the comparison does not stand.

(Also: the integration unit of human mind is not the synapse; it is an active zone, a molecular raft within a synapse. My personal view, as a molecular biophysicist turned neuroscientist, is that freezing dam... (read more)

Alcor vs. Cryonics Institute

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 ... (read more)

Alcor vs. Cryonics Institute

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 indic... (read more)

1mikedarwin10y
This is a remarkable statement from Ben Best, and one that perhaps speaks best as to why CI is not a cryonics organization being run on a rational, scientific,or evidence based basis. When Ben Best writes: "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," he is making a statement that has the following outright errors, misunderstandings or distortions in it: First, DMSO and PEG are incompatible in that they cannot be used either safely or effectively under the conditions required to carry out cryoprotective perfusion in a clinical (or research) setting AS PRACTICED BY CI. The first fact to consider is that DMSO-PEG solutions will often undergo gel formation when cooled to temperatures above freezing if left under refrigeration long enough. This phenomenon has a variable time course and is akin to nucleation and freezing in supercooled solutions - such mixtures may remain clear for days, or undergo precipitation/gel formation within hours of cooling. Second, the perfusate in question, VM-1, is designed to be administered at a SUBZERO temperature (-7 degrees C) in order to minimize toxicity. The final concentration of cryoprotectants in VM-1, a roughly equal mixture of DMSO and ethylene glycol (the latter is the principal ingredient in automotive antifreeze) and has a total concentration of these two agents of ~ 70%! In the brain tissue slice experiments performed by CI's researcher Dr. Yuri Pichugin who invented VM-1, this very high concentration of agent was not introduced until the temperature of the brain tissue was -20 degrees C! CI's own protocol for human cryonics patients calls for the introduction of VM-1 at the lowest possible temperature that they can achieve (~ -7 degrees C), given that they have no heat
4[anonymous]10y
This is a remarkable statement from Ben Best, and one that perhaps speaks best as to why CI is not a cryonics organization being run on a rational, scientific, evidence based basis. When Ben Best writes: "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.," he is making a statement that has the following outright errors, misunderstandings or distortions in it: First, DMSO and PEG are incompatible in that they cannot be used either safely or effectively under the conditions required to carry out cryoprotective perfusion in a clinical (or research) setting. The first fact to consider is that DMSO-PEG solutions will often undergo gel formation when cooled to temperatures above freezing if left under refrigeration long enough. This phenomenon has a variable time course and is akin to nucleation and freezing in supercooled solutions - such mixtures may remain clear for days, or undergo precipitation/gel formation within hours of cooling. Second, the perfusate in question, VM-1 is designed to be administered at a SUBZERO temperature in order to minimize toxicity. The final concentration of cryoprotectants in VM-1, a roughly equal mixture of DMSO and ethylene glycol (the latter is the principal ingredient in automotive antifreeze) is ~ 70%! In the brain tissue slice experiments performed by CI's researcher Dr. Yuri Pichugin who invented VM-1, this very high concentration of agent was not introduced until the temperature of the brain tissue was -20 degrees C! CI's own protocol calls for the introduction of VM-1 at the lowest possible temperature that they can achieve, given that they have no heat exchanger in their patient perfusion circuit. The way CI attempts to get the temperature of the final pass of VM-1 below 0 degrees C,
Alcor vs. Cryonics Institute

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.

0maxmore10y
The last statement is not accurate. Currently, with some warning, Alcor WILL deploy people outside of North America. In the near future, we expect to be able to deploy more local responders either instead of or in addition to our own personnel.
Alcor vs. Cryonics Institute

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,... (read more)

1maxmore10y
Ben: I wasn't actually criticizing CI for not perfusing the body other than the brain, I was simply pointing it out. CI members in general seem very insistent on the importance of cryopreserving their entire body. Given THAT, it seems important to note that their body will not be cryoprotected. However, thanks for pointing out that CI will do so if requested. How often is that request made? Why do you say that vitrification of the body is not possible "either at Alcor or CI"? It is done at Alcor for whole body members.
1[anonymous]10y
I also meant to note that I am not sure how much the extra expense of M22 is worth in light of the fact that currently there is considerable cracking damage for patients being stored in liquid nitrogen.
Looking for information on cryonics

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.

Ending British Columbia's anti-cryonics law

I am willing to help, in addition to the help you are getting from the documents I have written on the subject.