The Dark Side of Science: The Bizarre World of Cryonics | Short Documentary

The Dark Side of Science: The Bizarre World of Cryonics | Short Documentary

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it is the 28th of august 2014 and the alcor life extension foundation is receiving a new client you can't call this person a patient however as they are deceased foundation workers are preparing the corpse but it's not what you think the body isn't going to be buried or cremated but instead preserved for a future potential reanimation the body will be stored alongside other corpses from relatively unknown to celebrities including the longest surviving chronic body they're all placed here for a potential future where their final moments on earth may actually have not yet happened this new customer for the our core life extension foundation falls in the middle between famous and unknown the body they are preparing is someone called hal finney who had sadly died of complications from amiotropic lateral cirrhosis he was a computer engineer and although potentially unknown he was the first recipient of a bitcoin transaction from the cryptocurrency creator satoshi nakamoto many have even posited that finney was the famous white paper author himself but today we aren't looking at bitcoin but instead the process of cryonics the preservation of the dead so that one day they may live again his critics will call it a pseudoscience that takes money in exchange for false hope as to date no method of bringing back those who have been preserved has arisen but regardless of its criticisms the field has filtered its way into the cultural zeitgeist of the 20th century my name is john and this is the dark side of science [Music] our story starts on the 26th of july 1919 in lechworth hertfordshire united kingdom with the birth of one of cryonic's first theoreticians james lovelock he was brought up in a quaker household which would have an influence throughout his life and working career his family moved to london during his school years where he would attend the strand school his family not being the most wealthy could not afford to send their son to university upon completion of school he went out to work for a photography company during this time he attended evening school at birkbeck college but eventually he would be able to afford to attend the university of manchester to study chemistry his time at university would be set to the backdrop of the second world war and his studies allowed him a deferral from enlistment but although personally a conscientious objector he undertook research council work into the effect of sunburn the results of which were used to help protect soldiers in hot climates post-war lovelock would earn his phd in medicine at the london school of hygiene and tropical medicine from there he carved out a career at london's national institute for medical research in the early 1950s lovelock started looking into the field of cryopreservation that is freezing organic material to stop any chemical processes this is not as simple as it sounds you see freezing can actually cause damage to organic matter this is from the water within crystallizing this is not much of an issue with freezing last night's lasagna but if the thing you're looking to preserve is more delicate then these crystals can cause damage to the cell membranes this is where cryoprotectants come into play but we'll come back to this in a little bit okay i should probably pause here to say lovelock wasn't the first as french biologist jean rostand had looked into storing organic material at low temperatures before as well as the concept of keeping a person in a frozen state or suspended animation to prolong life was around in fiction even as far back as the 500s in folk stories even in science fiction for example mary shelley's roger dodsworth the reanimated englishman but lovelock seemed to me like a good place to start this video in 1953 lovelock released the paper hemiolysis of human red blood cells by freezing him for him in this he suggested that the concentration of electrolytes most notably salts is the damaging factor when blood is frozen and subsequently ford meanwhile in the u.s the first children were conceived from previously frozen sperm in 1954 when three women successfully gave birth to three healthy children lovelock looked to further study the field of cry preservation and in 1956 he released another paper studies on golden hamsters during cooling to and rewarming from body temperatures below zero degrees centigrade here lovelock and fellow national institute for medical research colleague audrey yu smith looked into the freezing and fouring of golden hamsters they did this in order to observe the amount of water in the brain that could be frozen and still achieve consciousness upon being defrosted in this experiment it was found that many at least one third of their test subjects survived with up to sixty percent of the water in their brains having being frozen at a temperature between minus zero point five degrees and minus one degrees centigrade this paved the way for thinking that a human brain could be cryopreserved but the study did highlight issues with other parts of the hamster's body where other organs in the animal were more susceptible to freezing damage this brings us back to cry protectants and their unlikely discovery lovelock's colleague audrey you smith had been working throughout the late 1940s and early 1950s with sir allen parks and christopher poggy to develop a reliable cryopreservation technique for animal semen unfortunately their studies had hit a bit of a brick wall until a chance discovery smith had during her experiments experienced a success using albumin but bizarrely she couldn't replicate the results strange she went back to the same bottle she had used in the successful run as in subsequent attempts with a different bottle had failed she went back to the bottle she had the success with but sadly it was accidentally dropped some of the unknown liquids splashed on a lab hot plate and a pungently accurate smell puff of smoke was given off smith recognized the smell acrolein which is given off when glycerol was burnt ah that must be it she thought smith subsequently tested glycerol and proved consistent success this chance discovery had created an important milestone in cryopreservation but how does a cryoprotectant work cryoprotectants are chemicals that dissolve in and lower the melting point of water creating larger unfrozen pockets for sales that reduce damage from freezing the use of love locks and smith's discoveries hadn't really been considered for the freezing of the dead yet enter american robert etiga the man who would push the field towards freezing humans in hope of future reanimation he found interest in chronics from a fiction background he had read at the age of 12 the 1931 36 page short story called the jameson satellite the story tells of a future race of machine men called the zoroms who discover a spaceship orbiting earth on board they discover a professor jameson a man who had died 40 million years before he has sent his corpse into space to preserve it for eternity to orbit around the earth the machine men decide to place jameson's brain in a machine body and the professor lives once more the story would stay with ettinger throughout his teens and twenties where he served in the us army being severely wounded fighting in germany unquestionably this experience would force him to question his own mortality post-war etiga would earn two master's degrees and would become a high school teacher but that science fiction story he read in the 1930s would stay in his mind its story of rebirth after a period of preservation would bring a case of life imitating art when a 42 year old ettinger wrote a few pages on the concept of cryonics and sent it to a number of influential people in american society few responded but undeterred etinga set out to further develop his concept in a privately published 1962 book the prospects of immortality this time around the book attracted more attention than his previous paper and it was passed to a publisher who in turn consulted the concept with isaac asimov meanwhile during 1963 peter mazzier at oak ridge national laboratory posited that cell damage could be reduced in the speed in which the organic material was frozen he theorized that a speed of one degree centigrade per minute was all that was needed to greatly reduce damage as long as the item had been treated with glycerol or some similar cryoprotectant the science was starting to seem like it could fit the concept and it wasn't long before the first human body would be preserved ettinger's book inspired several cry preservation companies in the us which would lead to the first attempt at preserving a human body the first person to be frozen still remains unknown but what is known is that it was performed by cryocare equipment corporation in phoenix arizona the company was advertising deep freezing as a form of cosmetic preservation but in april 1966 the first person was frozen with the rough concept of reanimation in mind a middle-aged woman from the los angeles area was placed in liquid nitrogen two months after being embalmed she was stored at slightly above freezing temperatures in a mortuary refrigerator but the body would only be kept for a year or so before she was fought out and buried but it wouldn't be until another year later that the first person was officially cryogenically preserved james hiron bedford was a psychology professor and before his demise had written into his will his desire for the care for his corpse after death he even wrote in a hundred thousand dollars to be donated to cryonics on the 12th of january 1967 bedford died of cardiorespiratory arrest as a result of his metastasized kidney cancer within two hours the preservation process began his body was injected with a solution of 15 dimethyl sulfide and 85 ringer solution which pre-invention of vitrification was once thought to be useful for long-term cryogenics but it is unlikely the process preserved the brain the preservation work was conducted by roberts prehoda an early chronic proponent robert nelson a former tv repairman and a dr dante bruno a physician and biophysicist bedford's first couple of years were stored at the edward hope cryo care facility but hope's dream of financial success didn't come to fruition after two years hope looked to get shot of his frozen clients and started offloading them to other organizations and family members bedford's body would bounce around from facility to facility by now robert nelson had founded the cryonic society of california and through this he would freeze several more corpses in 1969 nelson would put four bodies inside a capsule made for one he purchased an underground vault at a cemetery in chatsworth on the northwest side of los angeles in may 1970 the capsule with four corpses in was lowered into the vault but the bodies were allowed to fall when the money ran out for nelson nelson would continue freezing bodies and taking payment for storage if a family stopped paying then he stopped topping up liquid nitrogen which allowed foreign and eventual decomposition in total seven bodies at nelson's crypt would fall out and needless to say the carelessness would result in a court case against the organization which unsurprisingly for nelson and his business partner resulted in a fine of nearly 1 million dollars in 1981. bedford's body was luckily not amongst those at the ill-fated chatsworth crypt and eventually custody of the corpse went to alcor where it is today the custody chain of bedford's body and the disaster of nelson's chronic operation further highlights the inherent issues with the concept as the corpse is entirely at the whim of the place it is stored in bedford's story is vitally important to the chronic journey as he is the only corpse to remain frozen and thus potentially recoverable pre-1974. though the whole brain thing does raise questions to what they would be reviving but since the early 1970s cryonics has made improvements with newer methods of preservation and now this leads us pretty neatly onto how a body is prepared for storage after death in the more modern day say you want to be preserved for a future where you will live again well you have roughly two options one preservation of your whole body or two preservation of just your brain you see the studies by lovelock in the 1950s highlighted the need for reducing the buildup of ice crystals within cells we also saw with lovelocks and smith's work cryoprotectants and a slowing rate of cooling worked towards this but one great leap forward was the use of vitrification vitrification makes the use of cryoprotectants which replace the blood this reduces the risk of crystallization and turns the organ vitrified into a solid glass-like state great you might say no ice crystals for me however there is one drawback it is not suitable for a whole body preservation and thus this process is only used on neuro preservation that is just the brain with a brain preservation you're really hoping for some kind of conscious upload or like in jameson's satellite a machined body it probably goes without saying that freezing your brain is significantly cheaper than a whole body preservation but how about getting your whole body done well let's have a look next clearly thinking of one's mortality is a troubling thought process some have more time to think about this than others the chronic procedure heavily relies on the time of death being predictable and as such most who are preserved have died of a terminal disease and not in some sudden accident with chronics preparation is key and as such in the days leading up to death a standby team is required to be on call to start work at the exact moment of death now because most countries don't allow euthanasia this requires a lot of waiting around on the part of the standby team upon the moment of cardiac arrest legal death the standby team starts the preservation process you see the quicker the work begins the more of the cells can remain intact the body's breathing and circulation are artificially restarted to reduce the damage to the brain and to start the intravenous delivery of cryoprotective medications the body is placed in an ice water bath for transportation to the preservation facility once successfully transported more cryoprotectants are perfused into the body for around a week the body is then gradually cooled down to a temperature of nearly minus 200 degrees centigrade and in theory is now safe from deterioration thus the dying process is now apparently paused but here we still have the inherent risk of chronics not the calling process as science has caught up with ambition but the storing process the body needs to be kept at this low temperature and this is not cheap it is estimated that a minimum of at least two hundred thousand dollars is needed for the preservation process this consists of sixty thousand dollars for the process twenty five thousand dollars into a membership fund and a remaining 115 000 into a trust that owns the mortgage on a storage facility as well as a yearly membership fee when the patient is still alive at least that's how alcor foundation operates now needless to say with large amounts of money needed and the concept of dodging death chronics does have its criticisms today no one has been brought back to life and there are no plans for the time being the processes used however have proven themselves to work such as vitrification where it is used in preserving embryos with children being successfully born from their deep frozen origins and reportedly a rabbit's brain was frozen and fought with no crystallization damage observed but the whole concept does raise some ethical concerns for example the increased risk of potential premature euthanasia potential mental anguish of the families of the deceased and the changing of the concept of death the technology to revive the frozen corpses does not yet exist let alone being able to cure the deceased of whatever deceased them in the first place but the main question that comes to my mind is would you even want to come back to life presumably many years in the future after all everyone you knew and loved has long since perished it would be lonely and you would be an alien in another world say for instance your great great great grandfather was frozen and fought out today would he be able to adopt to modern technology mainan in 1920s sligo island didn't even have running water in the house she grew up in and within her lifetime technology went from gas lights to the internet and this brings us back to 2014 and the preparation of how will he be revived sometime in the future well we may never know but if going on chronix's history is anything to predict the future on possibly unlikely but alcor have seemed to deal with the long-term financial issues in a sensible manner by using the money paid by the internee to invest in future income but the critics are not in short supply in a 2015 mit technology review article called the full science of chronics looked into the claims of cryonics companies being able to upload your brain in the future and it was thought that this would be very unlikely the field is not considered a medical treatment and to me falls more into the realm of pseudoscience but how unethical chronics is will really fall down to whether you think that taking a fee for an unproven process with no yet successful outcome for any test subject is ethical or not i suppose most of the frozen thought that chronics might offer some hope in the face of death and as such it seems like it is just a very expensive way of coping with one's mortality clearly early chronic organizations were well beyond the mark in terms of holding people's remains almost like ransom but more modern organizations seem to have learnt from these past blunders but chronics does have an important cultural impact especially in science fiction films where people are put into suspended animation in order to travel to different galaxies the man who brought chronics into the public mind ettinger would himself be frozen after death in 2011. now where would you rate this

subject on my ethical scale one being no problems at all and ten being pure evil i'm going to rate it between two and four this is due to most people involved having informed consent and apart from it costing a lot of money it doesn't seem to at least in the modern day be involved in testing on living subjects this is plainly difficult production all videos on the channel are creative commons attribution share like licensed play different videos are produced by me john in the currently average cloudy southeastern corner of london uk help channel grow by liking commenting and subscribing check out my twitter for all sorts of odds and sods as well as hints on future videos i've got patreon and youtube membership as well so check them out if you fancy supporting the channel financially and all that's left to say is mr music play us out foreign

2022-07-28 12:32

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