Understanding Cryonics - Part 1 - Real Science? Or Science Fiction?
In this, the first in a series of feature articles I will be publishing on the topic of cryonics, we will look at the very basics of the technology and dispel many of the common myths regarding the 'fantasy' of cryonic suspension and re-animation.
First, to get rid of the most commonly perceived myth, no, Walt Disney was NOT cryonically suspended. In fact, his body (including his head - more on the significance of this later) was cremated and his ashes set to rest at the now infamous Forrest Lawn Cemetery in rural Los Angeles; very close to the final resting place of pop icon Michael Jackson.
The most notable person who was cryonically preserved is former baseball legend, Ted Williams. After his death in 2002, his head was surgically removed and preserved using one of the fascinating cryotechnologies called neurosuspension, which we will begin to explore now.
There are two basic types of cryonic suspension: full-body suspension, and suspension of only a subject's head, commonly referred to as neurosuspension.
The goal of Full-body suspension is typically to revive the subject at a future time, when the affliction which set about their cardiac arrest is cured and it is reasonably deduced that they could regain a seemingly normal life.
The goal of neurosuspension is to preserve only the brain with the hope that once human cloning technology is perfected and commonplace in our society, the subject's DNA can be used to clone a new body and that the memories, emotions, and personality of the suspended brain can be placed into the healthy clone.
Sound far fetched? Maybe. But, before we jump to conclusions, we should at least take a much closer look at the science and technology behind cryonics so that we can make an informed and educated opinion on the subject, right? After all, the science is very real and the technology to suspend people does exist and is, in fact, in practice all over the world. Are those people signing up to be frozen (or worse, decapitated then frozen)all crazy? Are the doctors and scientists that spend and dedicate their lives to this science nuts too?Continued on the next page