Mar
02
2008

Want to live forever? Grab your mittens.

Your future home: You'll have to share it with three other frozen bodies, or 5 other brainsicles.
Your future home: You'll have to share it with three other frozen bodies, or 5 other brainsicles.Courtesy Alcor Life Extension Foundation
So? Do you? Want to live forever?

No, I didn’t think so. Buzzketeers are more practical than that. I mean, do we really need to live forever? There would all these people everywhere, just…living. And eating, and pooping—all that stuff. It’d be a mess. Sure, it would mean being around to see flying cars, and laser guns, and Harry Potter 20, and Thunderdome matches…you know, living forever might actually be pretty awesome, come to think of it.

If that sort of thing is your game after all, well, get in line with the other, ah, people with like priorities, because you’ve got some time to wait for the technology to be ready. And when the technology is ready, you’ll have even more time to wait, in a big, cold tank, until some more tech is ready.

I’m talking, of course, about cryonics, the science of freezing your dead body (or at least your severed, dead head) with cryogenics, just in case you ever need them again. A recent article in the Guardian goes over some of the developing science for cryonics.

The idea behind cryonics is that one might (stress might) be able to freeze their dying body (or, again, just their head and brain) until a time when medical technology has advanced enough to cure whatever you affliction might be, whether you’ve got cancer, or just old age. If you just freeze your head, obviously, you’d have to wait until science gets good at building artificial bodies too.

The problem here is that people weren’t really made to be frozen. Well, no, actually we freeze just fine; it’s the thawing out that’s the problem. Remember, our bodies are about seventy percent water, and when that water freezes it turns into tiny, jagged ice crystals. Think about when ice cream thaws a little then re-freezes—it gets kind of crunchy from the ice crystals that form. When this happens in our bodies, the ice crystals poke all our cells full of little holes, and it’s very important for our cells not to be full of little holes, if we want to be alive, that is. The first people to have themselves cryogenically frozen (people started doing it back in the Sixties) are going to have to add that to their list of things for future doctors to fix.

As a solution to this, cryonics scientists are now attempting to replace that troublesome water in our dead bodies with a chemical solution that won’t get so nasty when it’s frozen. Cryoprotectants have the convenient property of freezing into a smooth, glass-like substance, saving our delicate cell membranes from all the poking. On the other hand, vitrified people tend to shatter a little more easily than normal people (not quite Terminator 2 or Timecop style, but not good either,) and the cryoprotectants currently used for human vitrification happen to be awfully toxic. So some of the people frozen these days are going to have to add that to the list of things for future doctors to fix.

And then there’s ischemia and reperfusion. A person can be technically dead for about five minutes and still be come back. After that, though, if revival is attempted there’s trouble. Oddly enough, it’s not only the having been dead that gets you, as it were, but the coming back to life—being without oxygen for too long (ischemia) is obviously no good for you, but so is having oxygen flood back into the cells again, a process called “reperfusion.” And since a person must be declared legally dead before their body may be cryogenically preserved, part of the challenge then becomes how to freeze or vitrify them in the four to six minute window of time before ischemia and reperfusion become an issue (or to extend that window—cooling a patient just a few degrees seems to help this). Otherwise that type of cellular damage will have to be added to the list too.

It seems like a lot to deal with. But, then again, how else are we going to truly experience a future that (hopefully) will be something like Logan’s Run, or Planet of the Apes? Our imaginations? Please.

So what do you think? Is frosty immortality for you?

Your Comments, Thoughts, Questions, Ideas

nelson.robin's picture
nelson.robin says:

i wouldnt want to live forever... i mean i dont want to die but i think however long we live thats all god wanted us to see it was our time to go... dont get me wrong doe living forever would be tight as heck...

posted on Sun, 03/02/2008 - 6:38pm
Naha's picture
Naha says:

Weird....just, weird. Cyrogenics is definitely for optimists!

posted on Mon, 03/03/2008 - 10:04pm
LEE's picture
LEE says:

i think that it'll be kind of cool freezing your body. It'll be nice to see how the future is from when you were in the past. Although the process of it seems kind of difficult and weird.

posted on Thu, 03/06/2008 - 11:16am
Candice_318's picture
Candice_318 says:

ii hope someone stupid tries this... ii really do. So people can get that idea out of there head they can live for ever. Why would you want to live forever? Keep seeing everyone you love die. The people you care about die from diseases while your still alive like a dummi

Have a great day

Sponsered in part by
IM AWESOME Productions

posted on Thu, 03/06/2008 - 11:03am
hmoob_muas's picture
hmoob_muas says:

ill give this a try cause i want to live forever....

posted on Thu, 03/06/2008 - 11:03am
zephyr's picture
zephyr says:

i wouldn't want to live forever but i dont want to die but i think after we die we start our life over

posted on Thu, 03/06/2008 - 11:03am
montez's picture
montez says:

ok hows that work how do you go in the tank to sleep but your dead an you get brought back when they find a way to cure you

posted on Thu, 03/06/2008 - 11:04am
andyshadexx's picture
andyshadexx says:

well the idea is cool, but there are no suck this is "living for ever" what the point of living if you got froze for a long time. Even if you get to the future. You still die.

posted on Thu, 03/06/2008 - 11:05am
flinch619's picture
flinch619 says:

i dont understand freezing DEAD bodies. for christians heaven is the next step in life. so whats gonna happen when the unfreeze you? you just get sucked back in to your severed head? ive just always understood death was finite..........this is scary

BOOYAKASHA!

posted on Thu, 03/06/2008 - 11:05am
bert123's picture
bert123 says:

this is just the dumbest idea that i have ever heard. why would you honestly want to live forever? imagine if everyone wanted to do that, then the planet will be over populated.
IBI Call it what you want IBI

posted on Thu, 03/06/2008 - 11:06am
Looney_Tooney's picture
Looney_Tooney says:

No...
I wouldn't want to live forever...
It'll suck when you see all the people you love die, one after another...
I like to go when my time comes...
STRAIGHT UP YO!!!

posted on Thu, 03/06/2008 - 11:07am
Andy Korman's picture
Andy Korman says:

lets not play god now, you seen what has happened in Jurassic Park.

posted on Thu, 03/06/2008 - 11:09am
porscha2008's picture
porscha2008 says:

i dont ever want to live forever.....i just wish that i could be young forever and die young....not young in age but looks.....

posted on Thu, 03/06/2008 - 11:13am
shanee's picture
shanee says:

Thats makes no type if sense to me....we cant live forever ...and even if we tried it wouldnt be nice...just because who want to live on this earth with so many things going wrong...so come on people we arent GOD.

posted on Thu, 03/06/2008 - 11:13am
BLB's picture
BLB says:

See Here they go again tryin to play GOD! give it a rest. this is another thing they just cuz they can... but should't

Yadadamean!!!

posted on Thu, 03/06/2008 - 11:28am
JARVIS's picture
JARVIS says:

I think this isn't and can't ever work. You will never be able to replace the human body with something other than water, freeze them, then thaw them out. It isnt and never will be possible.

posted on Thu, 03/13/2008 - 10:04am
JGordon's picture
JGordon says:

You might be right, JARVIS, but I can't help but think of all the medical technology we have today, and how so much of it would have seemed absolutely impossible not so long ago. I mean, face transplants? How totally bizarre.

Then, again, I suppose that there have been plenty of ideas that never quite panned out. I, for one, thank my lucky stars everyday that no doctors will be claiming that I have an excess of bile, and must have it drained.

I need all my bile! Especially my black bile.

posted on Sun, 03/16/2008 - 7:19pm
Anonymous's picture
Anonymous says:

if we could think of a way to not need sleep, our lives would be atleast 25% longer.
I know we are alive duringsleep, but in a way, we aren't
i wonder ifdeath is just like sleeping.
you go to sleep, have one crazy dream after another...
Which makes you think, how do we know we are even really alive right now?
I could be dead right now, having a really long dream, then when i die, move onto the next dream with next to no recollection of the previous dream (aside from deja vu), forever and ever, we are all just sleeping and our consciousness is not reality.

posted on Sun, 12/26/2010 - 5:49am
captain strange 's picture
captain strange says:

The problem about living forever is that I wouldn't want to have any relationships with any of the women I've met because she would just grow old on me and die. Then I would be left with a broken heart. People would just come and go in my life. But if I happened to go in the path of imortality. I would try to evolve. I'll get smarter and stronger, physically and mentally. I would keep going to school and learn everything I can. I would master every course. I would keep myself busy. I would even master every martial arts known to man and push my body to it's limits. I'll train my body to become a fighting machine. I'll be a real life batman but except I'll be able to fight crimes forever. I'll try to make this world a better place. That's what I would do. Yup

posted on Mon, 10/01/2012 - 2:39am

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