In the hot desert outside Scottsdale, Arizona, some human bodies have been cryopreserved. To be precise, a total of 199 people’s heads or bodies have been cryopreserved in Alcor Life Extension Foundation (hereinafter referred to as Alcor) facilities so far, waiting to be resurrected in the future.
As a non-profit organization, Alcor declares on its website: “By preserving the human body in subfreezing temperature conditions, Alcor aims to restore human health with future medical technologies.” In Alcor, multiple filling fluids The cylindrical metal tanks of nitrogen contained human heads or whole bodies (Alcor called these people “patients”), as well as about 100 pet carcasses.
Some of these “patients” suffer from diseases that are currently incurable, such as cancer or ALS. A spokesman for Alcor said: “Modern medical technology is not enough to save these patients when they are dying. But, don’t let them go, but hand them over to us. We will stabilize them and they will not become Worse. We’ll keep them waiting long enough for more advanced technology to bring them back from the dead.” It can be seen that Alcor’s purpose is to preserve the bodies of the recently deceased in the hope that these people can be resurrected in the future .
Alcor Life Extension Foundation
According to Alcor, the cryonics process begins immediately after a person is declared dead. At this time, the organs of the “patient” are still alive. The cryonics team will wait near the “patient” one week before the expected death time of the “patient”. Once the “patient” is declared dead, the blood of the “patient” will be replaced with organ cryopreservation agent through ice bath immediately. Once the “patient” reaches Alcor, the “patient’s” blood is reinfused into the blood vessel, and the blood vessel is injected with cryoprotectants (compounds that prevent the formation of ice crystals, which can damage organs). Then, the “patient” was put into a liquid nitrogen tank and stored at -196°C.
Human cryopreservation (schematic diagram)
Alcor was established in 1972, and it implemented the first human cryopreservation in 1976. But Alcor was not the first to implement cryopreservation. In 1967, American psychologist Bedford died of kidney cancer at the age of 73. Bedford’s remains were cryopreserved at the time by the California Cryonics Society. Today, Bedford’s remains are cryopreserved in Alcor. During these decades, Bedford’s cryopreservation continued without interruption.
The youngest person to be cryopreserved in Alcor was a two-year-old Thai girl. She underwent multiple surgeries for brain cancer, and her parents, both doctors, were powerless. In 2015, she was saved to Alcor immediately after her death. Alcor has preserved many famous people, such as a software mogul who died of ALS in 2014 and a baseball player who died of a heart attack in 2002. In Alcor, the price of freezing the whole body is about RMB 1.5 million, and the price of freezing only the brain is about RMB 600,000.
Little Thai girl being cryopreserved
frozen baseball star
“Pure Science Fiction”
As tempting as it is to come back from the dead, there’s the problem: No cryonics facility knows how to return the “patients” it preserves. For example, Alcor only vaguely stated “we are confident in a possible resurrection”. There’s no evidence yet that cryonics’ ultimate goal — resurrecting the human body — can be achieved, but cryonics advocates remain optimistic. After all, sperm, embryos, and stem cells have all been cryopreserved and successfully thawed (“resurrected”). In 2016, scientists cryopreserved and successfully thawed the brain of a rabbit without causing any structural damage. The results are encouraging for cryonics advocates.
However, a growing number of scientists have expressed serious doubts about Alcor’s cryonics program. One neurologist, for example, pointed out that such cryonics demonstrates nothing but an astonishing ignorance of biology. The scientific advances cited by cryonics advocates do not apply to cryonics because the human brain is much more complex. Another prominent scientist pointed out that the idea of cryonics is not accepted by the mainstream medical community. The idea of bringing frozen human bodies back to life in the future is sci-fi and naive. Those who are “confident” in cryonics are really just trying to “get out of your pocket”.