An Interview With David Ettinger

An interview on the topic of cryonics, the low-temperature preservation of the body and brain following death. This aims to preserve the brain's fine structure - where the data of the mind is stored - so as to enable a chance at the development of future technologies to restore that individual to life:

Cryonics is based on a bet about the future, that technology will advance. A bet that we think is very sound, but is it evidence-based, it's not. Some people say, well do you have faith in cryonics? No, I just look at history and think this is a good bet. It's not certain by any means, but it's the best alternative. And that's how [Robert Ettinger] approached things. I mean, he wrote some articles about probability theory and what he called the probability of rescue. So cryonics was always from the first, scientifically based, and though there were people at the time who said this isn't going to happen, my father always challenged them and said, what's your evidence?

Is the damage [caused by freezing] so limited that you can freeze and revive a person today? It is not. I mean, there is too much damage that we cannot reverse currently for that, but that's part of why you need more time, but people frozen have the time. [Robert Ettinger] said that what some people want, will not be satisfied. Some people will not be satisfied until someone is frozen, and revived, and lives forever. Well, we can't wait for them.

The quicker you do it, the less damage will occur. And the process begins with cooling of the body, and especially the head, sometimes while continuing to pump the blood so that oxygenated blood flows to the brain and that limits the damage in the meantime. The next step is, and the cooling goes through several steps, starting with ice, then the body is perfused with cryoprotective agents to protect against damage in the freezing. You know, the next stage is dry ice and then liquid nitrogen vapors and ultimately liquid nitrogen, and the entire process takes a couple of days, takes a few days, really, to be finished.



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