Monthly Archives: February 2011

The Pathophysiology of Ischemic Injury: Impact on the Human Cryopreservation Patient, Part 3

By Mike Darwin Excitotoxicity A rapidly growing body of evidence indicates that excitatory neurotransmitters, primarily the excitatory amino acids (EEAs) aspartate, N-methyl-D-aspartate (NMDA), homocysteine and cysteine, which are released from neurons during ischemia, play an important role in the etiology … Continue reading

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On the Need for Prosthetic Nocioception in Cryonics

Onto 50 years ago now, the newborn that was cryonics was held up before the world and cried out lustily. And the world heard that cry and took note. From the tabloids to the learned journals, the infant’s birth was cataloged and commented upon. Some greeted it with wonder, some with puzzlement, and some with the contempt that was reserved for the bastard child of any culture at that time. Continue reading

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The Pathophysiology of Ischemic Injury: Impact on the Human Cryopreservation Patient, Part 2

The Pathophysiology of IRI While a wide range of post-insult interventions are currently being investigated in animal and clinical trials, and despite almost universal agreement that CI is a multifactorial insult, there has been little or no research aimed at … Continue reading

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Thus Spake Curtis Henderson, Part 6

“One day the phone rang, and there was this woman on the other end of line and she said, ‘I want you to freezer my father.’ Calls like this would happen, maybe every couple of weeks. Invariably they amounted to nothing. But Beverly Greenberg was different. She was going to freeze her father and that was all there was to it. He had been embalmed and dead for a couple of weeks. We had to dig up Herman Greenberg. Fred Horn and I went to the cemetery where he was buried in Philadelphia and supervised his disinterment. We took him back to Long Island in Fred’s station wagon and put him on dry ice. His wife Doris didn’t mind helping us; she was having a good time, getting her picture taken by Beverly.” Continue reading

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Cryonics and the Creation of a Durable Morality

Forty-seven years ago, when cryonics was brand new, a nearly universally asked question was, “What if you are married and your wife dies and is frozen, and you subsequently remarry, and you and your second wife are frozen, as well. What happens when all of you are revived?!” This was a deadly serious question, asked with creased brows, and great concern. It wasn’t asked because people were trying to be snide or clever, but rather because it reflected a deep moral concern about the sanctity of marriage, which cryonics called into question at that time. Today, the only people in most of the Western world who are much exercised about marriage are homosexuals, who haven’t had an adequate taste of it, and polygamists, who would have no problem with being recovered from cryopreservation to find they had two wives – and who might well be disappointed that they didn’t have more. The mid-20th century angst about the revived cryonicist with two wives, as seen from the perspective of the early 21st century, seems quaint, and more than a little archaic. Continue reading

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Thus Spake Curtis Henderson, Part 5

“Late in 1967 these two young hippies showed up, Paul Segall and Harry (Frosty) Waitz. Paul was a biology student at Stony Brook and he was hell bent on making aging research and cryonics into big time scientific undertakings. It was a crazy time, the 60’s, the Vietnam War, the protests. Paul and Harry would go handing out cryonics literature at funerals, wearing their long hair and beads. This didn’t go over too well with the cemetery management at Washington Memorial Park. Cryonics was a constant media attraction; camera crews and journalist were always coming round and reporters would enquire about cryonics at the cemetery offices. It was a terrible hassle for them. Campbell, the cemetery director had left, and another person came in. They wanted more rent, but basically they wanted us out of there. We were a lot of trouble for them and the constant media presence wasn’t conducive to the nice, quiet, ‘final resting place’ they were selling to the dearly beloved. And we weren’t happy there, because we were keeping bodies in the garage, and the people who worked on the grounds were always joking about the frozen bodies and leaving their lunch on the dry-ice boxes.”

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The Pathophysiology of Ischemic Injury: Impact on the Human Cryopreservation Patient, Part 1

“There are, at a minimum, five obstacles that must be overcome in order to allow the restoration of human cryopreservation patients to life and health:

1. Reversal of any ischemia or ischemia-reperfusion injury (IRI) suffered during the peri- and post-cardiac arrest intervals before definitive stabilization in the solid state can be undertaken.
2. Repair of injuries, gross, microscopic, ultramicroscopic and biochemical, secondary to the cryopreservation process.
3. Cure for the underlying pathology(ies) which caused the patient’s terminal illness.
4. Replacement of any missing or discarded tissues/organs resulting from medical interventions (i.e., amputation, excision, ablation) or from neuropreservation.
5. Control over and reversal of the aging process.

The implication of this is that where Human Cryopreservation Organizations (HCOs) can make the most difference for the least expenditure of resources is to focus their efforts on minimizing (and ultimately eliminating) the damage their patients suffer from ischemia-reperfusion injury (IRI), and from CPA perfusion and cooling to storage temperature (currently -196 ºC). While these may seem three discrete and unrelated problems they are in fact powerfully related.”

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Thus Spake Curtis Henderson, Part 4

“Admiral Isoroku Yamamoto, he led the attack at Pearl Harbor. That was a great attack. That shook ‘em, didn’t it? He showed them. It was a wonderful attack. See, I was brought up to believe that the Japanese were particularly loathsome fascists. But somewhere along the line I read a book called The Brave Little Match Man, and it was about a magic tree that was cut down and made into matches. The spirit of the tree was in the matches. The Japanese soldiers in China took the matches with them, this precious light to bring civilization to China, all the good things – railroads, drugs… Anyway, at the end of the story the brave little match man sets himself off to blow up the dam to save the Japanese army and all the rest of this stuff. So it showed me that fascists could be heroes.” Continue reading

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Thus Spake Curtis Henderson, Part 3

“At that time, the media were looking at cryonics from the point of view of sensationalism. They wanted to see someone get out of a coffin, you know? Saul and I went on across the country, and we found nothing genuine till we got to Ed Hope’s place in Phoenix, Arizona. That was another whole kettle of fish. He was actually building tanks. And he had two engineers working with him, he called his company Cryo-Care, and he had a woman in one of his tanks. Hope may be still alive, I haven’t heard from him in a long time. He’d married a wife from Germany, and he was doing well, importing wigs. He had two wig shops in Phoenix. Ed Hope wore a wig. It used to blow off at bad times. Ed Hope was the kind of guy who’d be pinching waitresses, chatting to airline stewardesses.” Continue reading

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London at Apogee: A Reflection on the Criticality of Life Affirming Values to Economic Viability and Personal Survival

Most of the essay below was written on 16 June, 2008. It was written as a post (including all of the financial graphics) for a critical care medicine list-serve called CCM-L – a venerable, but at the same time quirky and eclectic forum, for discussing critical care medicine and topics that could transform it, for good or ill (even if they are seemingly far afield from the brass tacks of medical technology, per se). Sometime ago, I’m not sure quite when, I was alerted to the work of the economic analyst (and economist) Michael Mandel’s in the form of his seminal article, “Why the Jobs Crisis is Actually an Innovation Crisis”, by something I saw in an e-communication from the Cato Institute. Mandel’s analysis started me working to rewrite my CCM-L piece into a more rigorous (and less personal) exposition of my ideas. Subsequently, Mandel’s article prompted a more exhaustive and insightful analysis of the current financial meltdown by the even more prestigious economist Tyler Cowen. Continue reading

Posted in Economics, Philosophy | 19 Comments