Conference: Advances in Human Cryopreservation, May 18-20, 2007 Ft. Lauderdale, Florida, U.S.A.

Notes Part 2 of 4

Note: These are just my summaries from my notes. As a layperson with bad handwriting and poor memory, I am sure I will have introduced errors that are not to be attributed to the speakers! Blame me not them if something is wrong or doesn’t make sense…

Brian Wowk, Ph.D., brought up the subject of intermediate temperature storage (ITS). Yes, brains fracture at liquid nitrogen temperature, and fractures turn a brain that might somehow be thawed into a brain that would have to be left for nanoscale repair technology. Brian revisits Hugh Hixon’s “How Cold is Cold Enough?”, taking into account the effects of viscosity in vitrification, and finds safe long-term temperatures adjusted upwards. At -125 degrees C the fastest biochemical reaction, catalase, would take 30 billion years. Brian also finds a zone between ice nucleation and ice formation with M22 between -80 and -90 degrees C. Ice nucleation reorients water molecules, which doesn’t damage tissues directly, but it makes ice more likely to form during rewarming, and that would damage tissues. Brian estimates possible safe temperatures for storing vitrified patients at between 120-196 degrees C.

Tissue fracturing causes loss of information and increases the difficulty people in the future will encounter trying to repair it. Fractured patients will have to wait for uploading (to which some people object personally) or advanced nanoscale repair. Annealing – alternately cooling and warming – works with kidneys to avoid fracturing. ITS was used by Greg Fahy in transporting his vitrified corneas long-distance in a dry shipper.

Brian introduced the audience to a method for ITS using an aluminum/copper thermal conducting container, temperature controller, and dewars within dewars, with liquid nitrogen along the bottom. Controlled Intermediate Vapor Storage (CIVS) is the cornerstone of storage in the long-anticipated Timeship, designed by engineer Michael Iarocci and architect Steven Valentine.

The CIVS uses a very small amount of energy (10-20 watts; it can be run off a laptop’s UPS), has no moving parts, and it fails cold (that is, if the power stops, the container drops to liquid nitrogen temperature). CIVS is four times more efficient at using liquid nitrogen than Alcor’s current system. Presently, CIVS is for research only.

Next, Charles Platt spoke again, He said he would like to see more basic equipment for cryonics scattered around the country. Charles introduced the notion of Field Vitrification using a mobile operating room and transport by a modified ground vehicle or dry shipper for air transport.

Ben Best spoke about the Cryonics Institute and the recent public release of its vitrification formula.

Stephen Van Sickle gave us the numbers about Alcor – founded in 1972, 820 members, and 76 patients, and $2.5 million in the Patient Care Trust. Alcor’s current research plans include cardiovascular bypass studies using a rat model. Operating on rats’ vasculature is obviously a challenge in itself. The research is intended to aid whole body vitrification work.

Jim Yount introduced us to the mysterious third cryonics provider, the American Cryonics Society. One research interest of theirs is storing personal writings and pictures and information about places where patients lived, people patients knew, etc. They are also pursuing “integrated internment” or suspension in cemeteries, a notion strongly opposed by Brian Wowk for several reasons.


Anonymous said...

This is a very good summary.

---Brian Wowk

Arcturus Gregory said...

Thanks Brian!

Mark Plus said...

Only $2.5 million on the Patient Care Trust? It reportedly had $2.2 million in September, 2003, and Alcor has performed a dozen or so suspensions since then. What happened to the additional deposits into that trust fund these suspensions would have brought in? And why hasn't it earned a better return on the principal?