Make No Bones about It: The story of cryogenics

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Make No Bones about It: The story of cryogenics Michael Krogmann
June 7, 2018

Freezing a person’s brain and bringing them back from the dead could one day be more than just a Hollywood fantasy, according to some experts. But there are still plenty of challenges to overcome if scientists are to succeed in making cryogenics a reality.

In the movies, it’s no problem to bring someone back from the dead. So far, that’s more than can be said for cryonics, which posits that properly stored people’s bodies and minds could be brought back to life in another time.

Though there’s no certainty that the brain could hold memories and personality through the freezing process, some elect cryonics as a way to hopefully come alive again. Excavated remains are packed with information about the dead. People’s bones alone can tell stories about a person’s sex and age at death, along with various disorders and diseases, traumas and infections, clues to their diet, what hand they used most, and how hard they worked. Bones are also a vessel for DNA, which allows scientists to trace the migrations of ancient humans and even discover who they had sex with.

Mark Hall, the founder of Britain’s first stem cell bank, Stem Project, thinks the time is nearing when more than just bones might be able to be preserved. Hall also posits that freezing one’s brain will soon be cheaper than a funeral. Speaking to UK-based newspaper The Telegraph & Argus, Hall said, “Stem cell therapy represents the future, as it offers hope to people when previously there was none. As a field of medicine it’s very exciting, and we’re privileged to be a part of it.”

Still, according to a new study, brain activity has been shown to continue for between 2 and 20 seconds after the heart stops, raising the possible conclusion that you briefly know that you’re dead. However, in order for cryogenics to become a reality, that time frame would have to increase significantly – a sizable task for scientists and researchers in the field.

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