Sunday, 25 July 2010

Cryonics UK Training with Ben Best

Time is short and this weekend had a lot of content, so rather than report at length, I'll direct you to Ben Best's account of this Cryonics UK training weekend, as published in Long Life magazine:

Tuesday, 20 July 2010

Society for Cryobiology Annual Conference

This was, incidentally, the first public representation of EUCRIO by my good self.

Time is short and this conference was long, so I'm going to talk about one particular presentation I enjoyed seeing.

Specifically, regarding cryopreparation techniques used for transmission microscopy, which include chemical fixing followed by slicing into 150+/-50nm slices.

Logically this bodes well for the plans of the Brain Preservation Society, though results have included cells horribly lysed in some samples as well as cells preserved intact, albeit in parts internally damaged. If the purpose is to create a map (as in the transmission electron microscopy, such as could be used for keeping a record of the brain) rather than restore the cell to viability (as in cryonics), this is just fine.

I would draw a parallel to someone who has suffered brain damage due to oxygen starvation; the cells aren't properly functional, but still there and in tact.

I realise this is a somewhat tenuous analogy since the cells in a brain-damaged patient are viable whereas the fixed and sliced cells now frozen are not, this is irrelevant if the object is to record, rather than directly restore.

The upshot of all this (my conclusion, not that of the speaker) is that whole brain emulation could mean that someone's recorded brain could conceivably have its data "fed into" an artificially created brain (be it cloned, bioprinted, or even non-biological) and jump-started top effectively boot up the having-been-preserved person's mind (with the assumption of the validity of the premise of anatomical basis of mind, such that the mind is a function of the information communication in the brain).

Monday, 19 July 2010

Cryonics training in Portugal

I recently gave training to the Alcor Portugal group, who are beginning to get equipped to perform local (Portugal and Spain) Cryonics emergency standby, stabilisation, and transport.

So far, their equipment runs to a PIB, thumper, and air compressor - bare bones basic stuff, but much more is on the way.

The PIB is of the design used by the Oregon Cryonics local assistance group, built by a local fabricator following to-the-millimetre specifications from the US. Upon seeing it, I was somewhat envious of its very shiny professional appearance, compared to Cryonics UK's seasoned old wood-and-plastic PIB that has seen action in I don't know how many suspensions.

I made an observation that with the side bars in place all around the PIB, there was insufficient room to slide the thumper in and not have its operations obstructed by the horizontal bars. After some experimentations with positioning of the thumper, it was decided to take the bars out at the part where the thumper slides in, such that it has a gap in the side at that part to allow the thumper room to get in as far as the necessary part of the patient's chest, as the CUK PIB does.

Removing these bars thus went on a to-to list, and later on we tested the structural integrity of the PIB (still with all the sides in place and unaltered at this stage) by part filling it with water (part filling as naturally water without ice is slightly more dense than ice water).

The PIB failed this testing process; the central folding part of the base board folded the wrong way under the pressure, and the aluminium bars bent out of shape.

Apparently the fabricator, a hefty fellow, had tested it by jumping up and down in it, and it had been fine, but clearly the water weight proved too much for it.

To this end, the existing PIB will be fixed, reinforced, and re-tested; and also a new PIB will be constructed after CUK's design.

Everything will be tested as rigorously as needs be, before going into action with any of it.

The thumper, a Michigan Instruments 1004, can run directly from the air compressor, which itself will run from a car cigarette lighter for non-ambulance vehicle use (say for example, if a van were used in an emergency).

Given the lack of other equipment on-hand as yet, other less hands-on instruction was given in the form of a keynote presentation, some videos, and a show-and-tell slide session, to give an overview of the whole standby, stabilisation, and transport process.

This took the best part of one day, and though I stayed from Friday to Monday, the other time was taken up with various related prep-work, about which I'll not blog for now but rather update the world on that and some other work I've been doing, in a couple of months' time.

While as yet small, the local group in Portugal has a lot of commitment and for that and other reasons I see them going very far.

Sunday, 11 July 2010

Zoll Autopulse purchased

For any unfamiliar, this item is the Rolls-Royce of (very!) transportable and efficient automated cardiac support.

Way better than the LUCAS Chest Compression System and incomparably preferable to the Michigan Instruments Thumper.

Provides compression all around chest instead of just at one point, and automatically measures the patient's chest's resistance, so that it neither over- nor under-compresses (either could cause significant damage). No clumsy compressed air cylinders to worry about, as it's powered by batteries. No careful calibration needed, as with the Michigan Instruments thumper and friends, as it calibrates itself automatically.

The most expensive machine in the kit, but with three times the survival rate (compared to other CPR/CPS solutions) in hospital use, at what price a life?

Too long have cryonics patients (over here, away from the field of operations of Suspended Animation Inc) not had the best chances. That's all changing now.