The human body is capable of amazing things, such as healing broken bones and regenerating cells. Regardless of our regenerative abilities we are still unable to avoid death, and there are many people who would like to prolong their lives. For this reason they are preserving their body in liquid nitrogen, in a process called cryogenics, with the hope that science will soon be advanced enough to give them new life. Even though cryogenic freezing is only possible after a person has been declared legally dead, people with diseases which cause their death are also opting to be frozen, believing that they can be resurrected after a cure has been found.
The process of freezing the body begins as soon as possible after death to minimize potential brain damage. It is first cooled in an ice bath to gradually reduce its temperature, and in some cases CPR may be administered to prevent the death of brain cells. The blood is then drained from the person’s system and replaced with an anti-freeze fluid, to prevent harmful crystals from forming within the blood. After this initial process, it is packed in ice and transferred to a holding facility in either the United States or Russia.
Upon arrival, the body is put in an arctic freezing bag to be cooled by nitrogen gas to -196 C over a period of two days. Each one is then transferred to a storage facility, known as a ’patient care bay,’ where it remains suspended in liquid nitrogen until it will be time to resurrect it. The process can also be performed by removing the head and freezing it without the body. This is known as neuro-cryopreservation and is done in the expectation that a new body can be cloned, to attach the head to, when the technology becomes available.
Acclaimed neuroscientist, Dr. Sergio Canavero, has recently announced that the world’s first human head transplant will be attempted within the next 10 months. The operation will take place on a Chinese citizen, in Harbin, China, who will be the recipient of a donor body. Its success will also lead to even greater advances, as the team will then attempt to reawaken the first frozen head. Canavero will remove the brain from a cryogenically frozen head and transplant it in a donor body, resulting in the first technologically assisted human resurrection.
There have been no documented experiments to date, in which a mammalian brain has been re-awakened after being frozen in liquid nitrogen. This means that scientists are unsure of the possible complications that may occur. Irreversible damage may have occurred during the freezing process, and upon awakening the individual may display decreased mental facilities or great emotional trauma. In addition to possible complications, the success of the reawakening will answer other questions such as what really happens after death and how well the process of cryogenics really works.