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Shvoong Home>Medicine & Health>Cryonics - Can We Cheat Death ? Review

Cryonics - Can We Cheat Death ?

Academic Paper Review   by:RohitS     Original Author: Rohit Shahakar
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“Do not be desponded, your Highness,” said Al-Zahi, the royal advisor to the weeping mother (Queen Kiya), “for the little King Tutankhamen, will rise one day, when the intelligence of the humans will surpass that of nature, and avenge his murderer”, said the advisor, as he closed the lid of the tomb, putting the little king into a not-so-eternal sleep.
  Today, though King Tut still remains asleep, it won’t be long till the dream of his dynasty comes true. A minor difference, however, lies between the techniques of preservation used by the royal dynasties & the new age scientists is the fact that “they” used heat for preservation (a body dried by heat is invulnerable to microbial decay) whereas we use its foe.
  Cryonics (greek – kryos means cold) is the low-temperature preservation of humans and animals that can no longer be sustained by contemporary medicine until resuscitation may be possible in the future. The principle behind this technique is the circulation of a cryoprotectant (Dimethyl Sulfoxide - DMSO, Ethylene Glycol, etc.) throughout the biological tissues like brain, heart, etc. so as to preserve their fine structure and identity and also prevent damage due to ice. Cryonicists believe that physical death is an irreversible process & the cryopreserved body can be resuscitated by various available techniques (& more which will be invented in the near future). Sometimes, instead of the whole body, only the head is preserved (to reawaken the brain) which is called “neurosuspension”. Though some types of resuscitations have been successful with mice & frogs, human resurrection is still in progress.
  The major institutions working with Cryonics are Alcor Life Extension Foundation (which charges a whopping $1,50,000 approximately for whole body preservation excluding monthly fees), American Cryonics Society, Cryonic Interment, Inc and many more.
  It is in the nature of the society to oppose out-of-the-way researches (without ever giving a thought to  the outcome), which can be seen by the tremendous socio-ethical issues responding against the concept of cryonics - Are we God, Whats the need and many others included (Well, illnesses are natural - should medicine be outlawed?). The investment hitches too, support the cause. Apart from all the odds, it is to be believed that one day, King Tutankhamen and many other similars will rise up from the grave, to re-continue their unfinished journeys - for some ambitions go beyond the regular life cycles.
Published: February 20, 2009   
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