Nectome Seeks to Commercialize Aldehyde ­Stabilized Brain Cryopreservation

You might recall that aldehyde-stabilized cryopreservation was the approach that won the Brain Preservation Prize a few years back. The prize sought to encourage progress in the field, and particularly development of the means to proof high quality preservation of the fine molecular structure of brain tissue. Somewhere in there, the data of the mind is stored. Thus cost-effective preservation of that fine structure offers the chance at a renewed life in the future for the countless multitudes who will age to death prior to the advent of comprehensive rejuvenation biotechnology. It is welcome to see signs of greater research, development, and growth in the cryonics community.

That said, this advance comes from the side of the community that is more interested in storing the pattern than the flesh. Their end goal for the more distant future is to scan the brain as though it were a recording, and then run an emulation of the stored mind in suitable software. This is creating a copy and discarding the original - not a wonderful outcome from my point of view. It is the same as death for the preserved individual. Only restoration and repair of the stored brain itself is sufficient for personal continuity. Alcor, for example, doesn't intend to adopt aldehyde-stabilized cryopreservation because it will be much harder to carry out restoration in comparison to present day vitrification, and because it isn't a stepping stone technology on the way to near future reversible vitrification.

What if we told you we could back up your mind? Imagine a world where you can successfully map and pinpoint a specific memory within your brain. Today's leading neuroscience research suggests that it is possible by preserving your connectome. The connectome is all the connections called synapses between neurons in your brain. Researchers are now learning to manipulate individual memories, building advanced brain prosthetics, and reverse-engineering the brain.

Our mission is to preserve your brain well enough to keep all its memories intact: from that great chapter of your favorite book to the feeling of cold winter air, baking an apple pie, or having dinner with your friends and family. We believe that within the current century it will be feasible to digitize this information and use it to recreate your consciousness. Our process of vitrifixation (also known as aldehyde-stabilized cryopreservation) has won the Brain Preservation Prize for preserving a whole rabbit connectome, and we are currently hard at work to scale our preservation process to larger brains.

We currently need help with developing tissue staining protocols for richer connectome imaging. We also are starting to develop a computational neuroscience program. If you are an interested research institution, or are interested in joining our engineering department, please get in touch.



Isn't 21CM the company one of the old SENS guys start? I thought they were more interested in organ preservation.

Posted by: Anonymoose at March 13th, 2018 9:09 AM

I know, I've said that before: I'm not fully convinced that uploading does NOT create a mere copy, due to the hypothetical possibility to upload a mind to multiple "platforms".
However, since I've read the excellent book "A Taxonomy and Metaphysics of Mind-Uploading", I'm not fully convinced anymore that uploading DOES create mere copies which are not real continuations of the self, of the mind, either.
Instead, the author argues that the outcome would be multiple real continuations of the self, and he argues in a convincing, logical way - although this is of course hard to imagine. Highly recommended book!

Posted by: Nicolai at March 13th, 2018 4:28 PM

McGill University neuroscientist Michael Hendricks quote:

"Burdening future generations with our brain banks is just comically arrogant. Aren't we leaving them with enough problems?" Hendricks told me this week after reviewing Nectome's website. "I hope future people are appalled that in the 21st century, the richest and most comfortable people in history spent their money and resources trying to live forever on the backs of their descendants. I mean, it's a joke, right? They are cartoon bad guys."

Personal attacks, no scientific rationale. I hope somebody schools him.

Posted by: Adam at March 13th, 2018 7:09 PM

It's not without rationale actually. Who exactly is going to pay for and support all the infrastructure we are supposed to build to house these "minds" in? And if we consider that they are supposed to be operational at some point the storage needs can only grow.

And no. They will not be able to pay for themselves, without any doubt.

Posted by: Anonymoose at March 13th, 2018 8:21 PM

"And no. They will not be able to pay for themselves, without any doubt."

Again no rationale. All people in cryosuspension are paying for themselves now and have been doing so for quite some time.

"Aren't we leaving them with enough problems?"

The stupid leftist negation of reality. We have hugely LESS problems than people decades ago. See the statistics.

Posted by: Antonio at March 14th, 2018 1:11 AM

So seeking medical treatment is arrogant now? Should people who go to hospitals when they suffer heart attacks to try and avoid dying, be ashamed of themselves because the people running the hospital have enough problems already? Is it arrogant to burden the fire brigade by calling them in the hopes they'll save you from burning to death? Does seeking help in life-threatening situations automatically make one a cartoon villain, or is there some nice time limit - say, it's okay to seek help with something that will leave you dead in a year, but not, say 1000 years (or however long preservation is good for)? Perhaps seeking help for something that will leave you dead in 40 years would make you moderately evil - it might be equivalent to kicking a puppy, while seeking help for something that would leave you dead in 150 years might be the equivalent to poisoning your neighbour.

Posted by: Arcanyn at March 14th, 2018 4:41 AM

We're brought into existence without our consent, usually by people who were acting on impulse or hoping to satisfy extremely selfish desires, and we face innumerable miseries until such time as our bodies break down and, through a terrifying and painful process, everything we are is annihilated. And then some smug, self-righteous assholes call us evil for wanting to escape this process. Goddamn. People really can be terrible.

Posted by: TL at March 14th, 2018 7:03 AM

@TL "for wanting to escape this process."
But you aren't escaping the process. If you take the antinatalist stance of "no one asked me" you should be completely and utterly opposed to any form of uploading. You are pushing your memories, your misery, your pains, your depressions and insecurities on an artificial intelligence which wasn't asked if it wants to exist and on top of it wasn't asked if it wants the burden of your identity.

So yeah. If you're antinatalist and uploader at the same time you probably haven't thought through what it is you're actually trying to achieve. Or you just enjoy living with a logical fallacy as the basis for your existence. Who knows.

@Arcanyn "So seeking medical treatment is arrogant now?"
This isn't a medical treatment. Medicine deals with biology and more importantly with live organisms. Cadavers are of interest in other fields.

@Antonio "All people in cryosuspension are paying for themselves"
Only for the preservation itself - though depending on how slow the field has been growing and with no prospects of revival in sight I fully expect companies like Alcor to fail ultimately.

Posted by: Anonymoose at March 14th, 2018 10:21 AM

@Anonymoose You're really kind of aggressive. I didn't even mention uploading. Calm down a little, buddy. It's good for your health.

Posted by: TL at March 14th, 2018 10:53 AM

I may be misreading him, but I think it's clear from his comments that Dr Hendricks would be a skeptic about most forms of life extension, including the (relatively) more conservative therapies this site proposes. Unfortunately more esoteric concepts such as mind uploading, the Singularity and other transhumanist ideas are too exotic for the public, and easy straw men to go after for opponents, who often deliberately conflate with more realistic and near-term achievable theories.

For what it's worth I agree with others here that it is not a route to the kind of "in situ" rejuvenation that we support on this site. Without wishing to get into the esoteric metaphysical debate about whether an emulated software version of you is really "you", it's clear that your brain is not coming back from this process.

That said 21CM have done good work here and it does establish a new bench mark for quality of preservation. They also seem to have achieved good perfusion of the entire pig brain - some of the reporting mentions a blood-brain barrier opening technique developed by the Cryonics Institute. Good perfusion is essential for any preservation of a human brain, but also, in the nearer term, for the kind of low temperature preservation of other large organs that we would hope to see over the coming years. Which I think ought to be our focus - which leads back to my earlier point about keeping things realistic.

Posted by: The Rage at March 14th, 2018 11:19 AM

Anonymoose said: "Only for the preservation itself - though depending on how slow the field has been growing and with no prospects of revival in sight I fully expect companies like Alcor to fail ultimately."

Nope. The same fund used for maintenance will be used for revival, and it's growing everyday. And they can perfectly wait until the revival technologies are cheaper. Maintenance is already quite cheap--replacing the LN2 costs around a couple of bucks per week.

"This isn't a medical treatment. Medicine deals with biology and more importantly with live organisms. Cadavers are of interest in other fields."

You know nothing about death. Read from step 5) here:

Posted by: Antonio at March 14th, 2018 11:50 AM
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