Cryonic: The Future of Immortality?

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18c6wfrpey00zjpgBy: Sarah Wie

As Kim Suozzi took her last ragged breath after succumbing to her virulent brain cancer,  her boyfriend Josh Schisler knew he had only minutes to alert the cryonics teams to one day rejuvenate her mind. Suozzi hoped her rain could be preserved in subzero storage, so that when the neurobiology technology becomes advanced enough in the future, her intertwined neurons could be converted into a computer code that resembles the once sentient mind.

Suozzi was originally diagnosed with a benign form of cancer, but soon learned that the tumor was glioblastoma, an incurable form of cancer. As she carried through with chemotherapy, she came across an intriguing article: “The Brain Preservation Technology Prize: A challenge to cryonicists, a challenge to scientists,” which claimed that if the brain could be preserved, immortality would just on the horizon.

Her MRI, a few months after beginning treatment, showed that an experimental drug did not stop the growth of the tumor, and she and Josh began using social media outlets to gain recognition and collect funds for donation to cryonics.

As Suozzi dove further into the blooming field of cryonics, she learned that the molecular properties of neurons signified which neurons should be connected where, and even the damaged neurons could be put together once more digitally. She told Josh, “You’ll have to enhance me,” referring to the theoretical point in the future with her resurrected brain. Dr. Fahy, a cryobiologist who focuses on organ banking, gave Suozzi hope when he concluded that cryonics preserved brain structure through an experiment: after slices of rabbit brains were cooled to cryogenic temperatures and then rewarmed, they reacted to electrical stimulation.

The procedure to freeze her brain when smoothly, though the cryoprotectant had only covered the outer part of her brain, making the rest subject to ice damage. Josh was comforted by the fact that the conserved outer part of her brain, responsible for abstract thinking and language, may still be able to respond to the messages he wrote from time to time for Kim. In memory of Kim, Josh stated “Until (or unless) the day comes that Kim can be brought back, remember her, celebrate her, and emulate her resilience, so we can create the future of her dreams.”

 

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