Cryonics – Could Freezing Your Brain Save Your Life?

The quest for immortality is as old as the age of mankind itself, being widespread in the history from the ancient Egyptians to the Chinese. Modern man is not exempt, but with the exception that in our own time, the benefits of modern science can be utilized in this regard.

One technology employed in such pursuits is cryonics. This is the practice of freezing a corpse immediately after death, with the hope that scientific advances of the future may enable resuscitation and restoration of the individual. Cryonics is practiced by preserving dead bodies in liquid nitrogen at subzero temperatures. At the point of death, the body is cooled with ice packs and all the blood is drained. A special fluid is pumped into the body to prevent the formation of ice crystals during freezing. The corpse is then transported to a special facility, where it is suspended in liquid nitrogen forever.

The process may be carried out on the whole body or the brain alone may be frozen. For the latter, it is believed that future advances may enable a new body to be constructed, possibly through cloning.

Supporters of cryonics claim that it is very realistic to believe that science will be able to work out a way of resuscitating the human bodies. They generally point to the experiments in which lower-order animals, like roundworms were preserved in liquid nitrogen and later resuscitated. Also, there has been much progress in the cryopreservation of some animal organs for later use in transplants.

There also appears to be much hope that the brain function can be potentially restored. Theoretically, if the lysis of the brain can be prevented after death and the cytoarchitecture is retained,  the cognitive functions and memory can be restored. Experiments done with a species of roundworm have given credence to this view.

Therefore, Cryopreservation seems to offer an exciting prospect and the achievement of immortality may be quite closer than we think.

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Rajat Chakraborty Written by: