Monday, June 07, 2010
This one probably won't work but what have we to, lose?
The theory about suspended animation is that we freeze people as they die & when the technology is good enough it will be possible to revive them & cure whatever killed them.
The first problem is obvious - we don't know how to successfully revive people. However progress is being made
In June 2005 scientists at the University of Pittsburgh's Safar Center for Resuscitation Research announced they had managed to bring dogs back to life, most of them without brain damage, by draining the blood out of the dogs' bodies and injecting a low temperature solution into their circulatory systems, which in turn keeps the bodies alive in stasis. After 3 hours of being clinically dead, their blood was returned to their circulatory systems, and the dogs were revived by delivering an electric shock to their hearts. The heart started pumping the blood around the frozen body, and the dogs were brought back to life.That is extraordinarily good considering that there is absolutely no reason to try to revive until it can be done safely & that that need not be for centuries. When you look at the current rate of progress it would be foolish to suggest that we will not be able to do this safely by then or that almost any cause of death couldn't be cured by then.
While most of the dogs were fine, a few of the revived dogs had severe nervous and movement coordination damage
I think greater worries would be that the expansions of water in freezing could break cell walls within the body or that it will turn out that most memory is stored electrically within the brain & will disappear over time. However the dog experiments, as far as they go, tend to disprove that & anyway, as if you aren't willing to play you can't win.
The reason this is a Big Engineering concept is because of the economies of scale possible. If this was done routinely in hospitals it would be a routine mass system. In particular keeping millions of bodies deep frozen is far cheaper per person than keeping one because of the square cube law. Heat enters through the surface. If one body storage unit has a surface area of 40 square feet, one million would make up a cube of less than 240ft on a side (345,000 sq ft) with under 9,000 times the surface are. That could easily be kept frozen almost forever underground by Hyperion style small generator refueled each decade.
Currently you have to be nearly as rich as Walt Disney to do this (no he is buried in Forest Lawns) or just get your head frozen in the not unreasonable hope they will be able to regrow bodies some day but if the government push was there to build Hibernaculums (Hibernaculae) it could be done for everybody.