Frequently asked questions about Cryonics

1.- What is cryonics ?.

It is a technique intended to save lives and extend lifespan in good health. It is about stopping biological activity in legally dead people, keeping them at liquid nitrogen temperature, preventing their deterioration , so that future scientific and technological advances may someday revive them and restore them to youth and good health. It is said that a person in such a state is a “cryopreserved patient”, because he remains biologically alive even though his metabolism has stopped. This technique has already been used successfully, since more than 50 years ago, with cells (sperm and oocytes), groups of cells (embryos), tissues (skin, cartilage, etc.), small organs (brain and kidneys of small mammals) and simple organisms (C-Elegans).

2.- Can Cryonics be performed on living people?

Legally, not yet. We hope that one day, under carefully controlled conditions, it will be possible for terminally ill patients

3.- Would it be really possible to recover these patients?.

Many biological specimens have been cryopreserved at liquid nitrogen temperature, where all deterioration ceases, and they have been reanimated: whole insects; many types of human tissue, including brain tissue; human embryos, which later have become healthy children; and some small mammalian organs. More and more cells, organs and tissues are cryopreserved in a reversible manner.

The repair capabilities of molecular biology and nanotechnology, increasingly point to the availability of technology that will repair the damage caused by aging, disease and cryonics.

4.- Has any mammal been cryopreserved and reanimated ?.

Not to cryogenic temperatures. However, some nematodes have been cryopreserved in liquid nitrogen (-196ºC) and subsequently recovered. At the July 2005 Cryobiology Conference, it was announced that a rabbit kidney had been completely vitrified at -135ºC, rewarmed and transplanted to a rabbit with complete viability. Although a whole mammal has not yet been cryopreserved to cryogenic temperatures and recovered, Science is moving in that direction.

5.- What is a cryonic suspension ?.

Cryopreservation is sometimes called “cryonic suspension” because the patient’s condition remains unchanged, and therefore “suspended in time”.

6.- Is Cryonics Science Fiction ?.

No, from our point of view, since cryonics is based on the evidence of emerging technologies that are currently under development. This includes nanotechnology and the manipulation of individual atoms or molecules, which we believe will allow Humanity to construct or repair virtually any physical object, including human cells and biological tissue.

7.- Are there scientific studies that support cryonics ?.

Although there are no published technical articles on cryonics that show that it is not feasible, technical articles and cryonics analysis have been published that speak favorably of their chances of success.

The most important technical documents that provide scientific evidence of the viability of cryonics are: ANNALS OF THE NEW YORK ACADEMY OF SCIENCES; Lemler, J; 1019: 559-563 (2004) and REJUVENATION RESEARCH; Better, B; 11 (2): 493-503 (2008).

8.- How much it cost ?. Is it as expensive as they say?

The prices that are currently charged vary greatly from one provider to another, ranging from $ 28,000 to $ 200,000, depending on the type of contract and service, and always adding the price of transport and funeral that are not usually included. They are usually contracted through an insurance policy.

9.- What is the "Neuro" option?

“Neuro” is the abbreviation of neurocryopreservation, and refers to the practice of removing and cryopreserving only the head of a person declared legally dead. The theory is that only the information contained in the brain has any importance, and that a new body could be obtained by cloning or regenerated at some point in the future.

Neuro-cryopreservation requires less space and maintenance, so it costs less. Not all providers offer this option.

10.- Isn’ it absurd to freeze a dead person? If you have been declared dead, it means that you are dead. And in the event that they could be reanimated, would not they have the same disease that killed them?

If by “dead” we refer to “clinically dead”, without heartbeat or breathing, then reanimating dead people is done every day, thousands of times a year, in hospitals around the world. Cardiopulmonary resuscitation or CPR (developed in the 1950s) restores the lives of people who were once (erroneously) considered as dead totally and irremediably. This technique is a standard practice today.

If today we can restore life to people who have been “dead” for several minutes, and even hours in some cases , much more could be achieved in the future, especially if the patient has been cryopreserved.

“Absolute” death may only be said to occur when the essential information of the brain is destroyed, and brain preservation is precisely what cryopreservation aims to achieve.

Polio and bubonic plague, for example, were fatal disease onces, but they are no longer, as with hundreds of other diseases, and those that are considered deadly today, including old age, will probably cease to be so. It’s just a matter of time.

11- Would it be possible to repair all the damage caused by cryopreservation?

Methods to reduce freeze damage, including controlled cooling and vitrification, have already been implemented and progress continues with current research.

Vitrification means the formation of a glass-like solid as the temperature falls. This stops the formation of ice crystals that may damage tissues, and reduces freeze damage.

12.- Are there public statements by eminent scientists who recognize that cryonics has a scientific basis?

Yes. See the open letter on cryonics in which 60 eminent scientists claim that “cryonics is a legitimate activity based on science”.

Many scientists, such as Stephen Wolfram (London 1959), who is a renowned researcher known for his work in computer science, mathematics and theoretical physics, are interested in cryonics. Great communicators like Larry King (U. S. journalist and writer) say they are interested in cryonics. Entrepreneurs, founders and successful investors in large technology companies such as Ray Kurzweil (Google Engineering Director), Simon Cowell (Sony Music Company’s UK Board of Directors) and Peter Thiel (Paypal Co-Founder), who have a proven ability to see the future, are also opting for cryonics because they are confident that it is a viable option.

13.- Are you really talking about reviving the dead?

No. Cryonics is a matter of rational procedure, not religious miracle, so you can not reanimate people whose brains have been physically destroyed, however, if you cryopreserve a person in a way that limits the damage, then The structure of the brain can be preserved enough to recovery of life and health.

The dictionary definition of “death” is the permanent cessation of vital functions. Therefore, if someone, even after cryopreservation, is reanimated, that means that the person was not “really” dead.

14.- Can you guarantee that the reanimation process will be successful?

Nobody can guarantee success, because nobody can guarantee the future. No one can predict scientific progress with certainty, nor can social upheavals such as wars, economic collapse, political struggles, and any other circumstance that could end the lives of cryopreserved patients as easily as they can end the life of any human being.

What we can said is that currently, the only possibility of being reanimated in the future is cryopreservation.

15.- What about Cryonics in Spain ?.

The Sociedad Criónica is the only legally constituted organization in Spain that currently helps with cryopreservation contracts of the main cryonic centers of the world. This service is offered by the Sociedad Criónica to its members. To be informed and receive help, we recommend becoming a member of the Sociedad Criónica.

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