An Intro to Cryogenic Freezing for Humans - Nanalyze (2022)

An Intro to Cryogenic Freezing for Humans - Nanalyze (1)

The fountain of youth is something that’s been pursued by humanity for centuries. Billions upon billions of dollars are wasted every year by people whoaren’t even trying to be younger, but to simply just appear younger.Imagine how much money people would spend to actually be younger and consequently live longer.While there are various motivations for living longer, the onewe have iscuriosity. What will this world look like 100 years from now? Instead of wasting all that time and money trying to lengthen your telomeres, why not just freeze yourself and then wake up in 100 years to find out? That’s something we refer to as cryonics. It’s been around for a while now, as just lastyear the science of human cryopreservation celebrated 50 years in practice.

The History of Cryonics

Derived from the greek term “cryo” meaning “cold”, cryonics isthe notion that a dead person can be frozen and be brought back to life when the technology is available to do so, as originally proposed by Robert Ettinger in 1964 with his book “The Prospect of Immortality”. The first man to be frozen was 73-year old psychologist, Dr. James Bedford who was cryogenically preserved in 1967. He is reportedly still in good condition at the Alcor Life Extension Foundation in Arizona, one of the few cryonics facilities in the world. By the late ‘70s, about six cryonic companies had been formed in the US alone, and another half a dozen people followed Dr. Bedford’s steps by 1972. However, it started to become clear that it wasn’t very cheap to preserve and maintain each body. The biggest cryonics facility at the time, the Cryonics Society of California (CSC), found itself running out of funds to sustain the cryopreservation of its patients, and allegedly began to stuff multiple bodies into the same cryonic capsules using funds from newer patients to keep the struggling operation alive, capsules like these:

An Intro to Cryogenic Freezing for Humans - Nanalyze (2)

When 2 capsules failed as a result, 9 bodiesbegan to decompose. By 1981, the CSC was sued by family members and was ordered to pay them $800,000 which has since tainted the reputation of cryonics in the US.Despite a rather dark past, human cryopreservation is a highly established scientific process which, if implemented correctly, might take us to the realm of immortality. But how does it really work in the first place?

Cryogenic Freezing for Humans

Today’s cryonic process starts when a person has been declared dead wherein a cryonic preservation team will immediately attempt to keep the blood pumping through the body, pack the body in ice, and inject various chemicals into the body to reduce blood clotting to the brain. As soon as the body reaches the cryonics facility, the blood is removed and replaced with an organ preservation solution. A cryoprotectant solution is then injected into the blood vessels to prevent crystal formations in the organs and tissues, a “human antifreeze” if you will. While the body is already prevented from decaying, it is still important to protect it from the effects of freezing such as shattering cells and organ damage.

(Video) Prehistoric Man Frozen For Thousands Of Years, But He Is Still Alive.

Today, there are only 3 well-established cryonics facilities in the world that offer cryogenic freezing for human bodies and heads. Let’s take a closer look at each.

An Intro to Cryogenic Freezing for Humans - Nanalyze (3)Founded in 1976 by the father of cryonics himself, Robert Ettinger, Cryonics Institute is located in Michiganand houses163 frozen patients (#163 was just frozen last week) in their 7,000 square foot building, not counting the number of pets which are frozen (mostly cats, dogs and a few birds). The Institute is a non-profit organizationwith about 1,471 members worldwide who pay yearly dues of $120 or $1,250 for a lifetime membership, and then about $28,000 when actually frozen(most of which are covered under life insurance benefits). Members hail from around the globe as seen below:

An Intro to Cryogenic Freezing for Humans - Nanalyze (4)

Inside their warehouse are bodies, nestled in Walmart sleeping bags, that stand upside down within 10-foot high tanks filled with liquid nitrogen, lowering the temperature inside to about -196 degrees Celsius. The Institute even gained more popularity after accepting a body of a 14-year old girl who died in October this year when a UK Judge granted the dying teen’s wish to be cryogenically frozen after her life was unfortunately taken by cancer. She’s the Institute’s youngest patient so far.

An Intro to Cryogenic Freezing for Humans - Nanalyze (5)Founded in 1972, the Alcor Life Extension Foundation is the only other institute of its kind in the United States. Located in Arizona, the company houses 155 patients and offers both whole body cryopreservation and neuropreservation (heads-only) methods. Compared to the Cryonics Institute, Alcor is much more expensive with a price tag that goes up to $200,000 for a whole body preservation and $80,000 for a brain-only preservation (plus a surcharge for customers outside the US or Canada). Even with that high price tag, membershipcontinues to grow steadily over time:

An Intro to Cryogenic Freezing for Humans - Nanalyze (6)

(Video) What Happens to the Bodies if a Cryogenic Company Goes Bankrupt?

Alcor sees the brain as the most important part of the body and the most challenging, as it holds the billions of neurons which create personality and bear memories thatneed to be therewhen the body is resuscitated back to life in the future.As part of the $800 annual fee, members are allowed to store information and a few possessions in a box locked in a Kansas salt mine that will be returned in the event they come back in the future. They’ll even take all that useless drivel you post on your Facebook page in order to reconstruct the “real you”. Alcor boastfully hosts the head of the late US baseball icon Ted Williams, among the most popular celebrities in the facility. The high price tagis largely due to a patient care trust fundwhich is setup to cover ongoingcosts. It’s managed by a board of trustees who will make sure your best interests are kept in mind. Alcor boasts some high profile members like Peter Thiel and Ray Kurzweil.

An Intro to Cryogenic Freezing for Humans - Nanalyze (7)Our third and final company isMoscow-based KrioRus, which was founded in 2005 and currently houses58 human patients and 23 animals. The facility’s technology boasts huge chambers that can store up to 11 full-body patients and dedicated chambers for neuropreservation patients. The company charges $36,000 for full body cryopreservation and $18,000 for head-only ones for foreigners and $15,000for Russian citizens. For the pets, they charge $10,600 for little cats and $36,000 for big dogs. Probably the most interesting part of the company’s future plans is their recently formed agreement with Space Technologies that will allow them to blast off cryogenically frozen bodies into the space (don’t ask). The company is reportedly located in an unheated warehouse in a snow-covered village surrounded by private houses a few miles northeast of Kremlin.

While those are the threemain players that currently offer cryogenic freezing for humans, there are some other companies worth mentioning.

An Intro to Cryogenic Freezing for Humans - Nanalyze (8)Cryonics UK is a charity made up of volunteers that provide emergency services and a cryonics community within the UK. The company accepts membership from anyone who already has a suspension contract with one of the three large providers. While Cryonics UK is a voluntary non-profit organization, they still charge to cover costs in providing standby services(around $37,400 maximum). This covers medications, airway management, agency doctor fees and more. However, the company claims this doesn’t have to be fixed fee as each case is different and in most cases the final bill is on an average of more or less $20,000 only. The company boasts their own set of on-call ambulances and a team of volunteers that can attend immediately to getting your body on ice and off to your chosen cryonics provider.

An Intro to Cryogenic Freezing for Humans - Nanalyze (9)This non profit based out of Oregon was established in 2005 and is licensed through the State of Oregon as a Nontransplant Anatomical Research Recovery Organization (NARRO) of which there have been only four such licenses granted so far. Starting in 2014, they began freezing brains, like this one from Patient 104 which they froze in 2016:

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An Intro to Cryogenic Freezing for Humans - Nanalyze (10)

There are 88 years of memories in grandma’s brain seen above that they someday hope to restore. We weren’t able to find any information on prices or the number of patients that have opted for their brains to be frozen in this manner, but if the company reaches out to us with that information we’ll update the article.

Based out of Miami Florida, the latest company to offer cryogenic freezing for humans is Osiris whichAn Intro to Cryogenic Freezing for Humans - Nanalyze (11)aims to provide the best available cryonics services at an affordable cost. According to their website, “the price for membership at Osiris is $99,000 (includes pet preservation). This can be paid in three ways: out of pocket through a flexible payment plan, through life insurance, or through a lien on a real estate in the amount of $99,000“. The company’s website contains no information about who is behind the company or how many customers they have so “do your own due diligence” as they say.

An Intro to Cryogenic Freezing for Humans - Nanalyze (12)Another startup in South of Wales, Australia may become the world’s second facility outside the US. Southern Cryonics plans to build a facility that will reportedly be able to store 40 bodies in 10 specialized stainless steel vessels in a location with low risk of disaster and bushfire. While there hasn’t been an official release for prices, company secretary Matt Fisher declares a range of around $60,000-70,000 for full body preservations.Their last update spoke of needing to raise more funding or scale back the original plan and also stated that there is no expected opening date at the moment.

An Intro to Cryogenic Freezing for Humans - Nanalyze (13)One other Australian startup promises a cheat to death through AI, nanotechnology and cloning called Humai which stands for Human Resurrection through Artificial Intelligence. At its core, the company plans to freeze your brain and thentransfer it to anew body – eventually. Thecompany is realisticabout timelines and estimates that they’ll be able tooffer this service in 30 years, according to an article by Popular Science. Additionally, theyplan to observe your behavior while you are alive using AI and sensors so that they can then mimicsaid behavior in your new “fake body”. For now, the startup remains self funded.

Freezing the brain so that it remains intact when thawed is the Holy Grail, and that science seems to have made some recent advances. In Feb. of 2016,there was a “cryonics breakthrough” when for the first time, scientists were able to freeze a rabbit’s brain and thenthaw it a week later to see that the brain was“uniformly excellent” when examined using electron microscopy according to an article by New Scientist. That new freezing technique was developed by a California company called 21st Century Medicine.For all you MBAs reading this, there seems to be a lot of money in freezing bodies and at least one venture capitalist who would probably be keen to fund your idea.If the idea doesn’t take off now, maybe you can try again in 100 years when your brain is thawed out.

(Video) L16: Leica: EM Cryo preparation workflows. Update on the latest instrumentation.

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FAQs

What is cryogenic freezing used for? ›

Cryogenic food freezing uses liquid nitrogen to effectively freeze the food products. This helps food manufacturers to maximise production efficiencies while minimising costs. The use of cryogenic gas at very low operating temperatures of -80ºC provides a high heat transfer rate that ensures quick freezing times.

Who was the first person to be cryogenically frozen? ›

James Hiram Bedford (April 20, 1893 – January 12, 1967) was an American psychology professor at the University of California who wrote several books on occupational counseling. He is the first person whose body was cryopreserved after legal death, and who remains preserved at the Alcor Life Extension Foundation.

How cold is cryogenic freezing? ›

The cryogenic temperature range has been defined as from −150 °C (−238 °F) to absolute zero (−273 °C or −460 °F), the temperature at which molecular motion comes as close as theoretically possible to ceasing completely.

Is cryo sleep possible? ›

Will cryogenic sleep ever be a reality? Yes, today! NASA has developed a cryogenic sleep chamber for astronauts that lowers the astronaut's body temperature to (32-34°C), triggering natural hibernation by sending the metabolic rate into suspended animation for up to two weeks.

What chemical is used for freezing? ›

Cryogenic freezing is used to freeze food at an extremely fast rate. The food is moved through a spray of liquid nitrogen or directly immersed in liquid nitrogen. The liquid nitrogen boils around the food at a temperature of −196 °C (−321 °F) and extracts a large amount of heat.

What are the three types of freezers? ›

There are three types of freezers on the market: upright, chest, and refrigerator-freezer combinations. The upright and refrigerator-freezer are available as manual-defrost or frost-free models.

Can a frozen body be brought back to life? ›

Cryonics procedures may begin within minutes of death, and use cryoprotectants to prevent ice formation during cryopreservation. It is, however, not possible for a corpse to be reanimated after undergoing vitrification, as this causes damage to the brain including its neural circuits.

How much does it cost to freeze a body? ›

Prices with other organizations can be as much as $200,000 or more for whole body cryopreservation and $80,000 for a "neuro" (head-only) option. With CI, a whole body cryopreservation costs as little as $28,000.00, rendering an alternative "neuro" option unnecessary.

How long can a body be preserved in ice? ›

However, like embalming, it's important to remember that this merely slows the decomposition process – it doesn't stop it. A refrigerated body will last three to four weeks.

What is called cryogenic? ›

Cryogenics is the science that addresses the production and effects of very low temperatures. The word originates from the Greek words 'kryos' meaning "frost" and 'genic' meaning "to produce." Under such a definition it could be used to include all temperatures below the freezing point of water (0 C).

Is cryotherapy painful? ›

Cryotherapy doesn't hurt, although the exposure to the cold is often a strange sensation during your first cryotherapy session. Your body will stay dry the entire time, and your head will remain outside the cryotherapy chamber.

How many people are cryogenically frozen? ›

More than 50 years after the first cryopreservations, there are now about 500 people stored in vats around the world, the great majority of them in the United States. The Cryonics Institute, for instance, holds 206 bodies while Alcor has 182 bodies or neuros of people aged 2 to 101.

Can humans hibernate? ›

What Would It Actually Take for Humans to Hibernate? - YouTube

Can humans go into Hypersleep? ›

Unfortunately, cryopreservation technology in its current state is not a viable option to induce cryosleep/hypersleep safely for a living human. Cells indeed metabolize almost nothing at low temperatures, such as -196°C, and cryoprotectants prevent most cell damage, but it inevitably has side effects.

Does cryo mean cold? ›

Cryo- is a combining form used like a prefix meaning “icy cold,” “frost.” It is often used in medical and scientific terms. Cryo- comes from the Greek krýos, meaning “ice cold” or “frost.” Can you guess what cryology is? The study of snow and ice.

What liquid freezes things instantly? ›

Instant Freezing Liquid (Chemistry) - YouTube

Can I flash freeze at home? ›

How to Flash Freeze | Once a Month Meals - YouTube

Does freezing destroy vitamin C? ›

Blanching caused a decrease in vitamin C and folic acid, whereas freezing affected vitamin C and carotene. Frozen produce may also lose nutrients the longer they are frozen. They should be used within 8 months to 1 year of purchase.

What type of freezer is best? ›

An upright freezer may be the more prudent purchase for individuals who require or prefer easier accessibility to their frozen items. This freezer type also takes up less square footage, which is especially ideal if you are looking to maximize a compact space.

What are the methods of freezing? ›

Three types of freezing methods, namely, spiral tunnel freezing method (SF), cryogenic refrigerator freezing method (RF) and liquid nitrogen spray freezing method (LF), were applied to frozen unfermented dough.

Can deep freezer make ice? ›

Ice buildup occurs when warm or humid air comes in contact with the cold evaporator coils in your freezer (such as when you open the freezer door on a hot day). The coils will instantly freeze the moisture and, if there's enough of it, it will accumulate as ice.

How many people are cryogenically frozen? ›

More than 50 years after the first cryopreservations, there are now about 500 people stored in vats around the world, the great majority of them in the United States. The Cryonics Institute, for instance, holds 206 bodies while Alcor has 182 bodies or neuros of people aged 2 to 101.

Who has been cryogenically frozen? ›

Bedford's corpse is the only one frozen before 1974 still preserved today. In 1976, Ettinger founded the Cryonics Institute; his corpse was cryopreserved in 2011.

How does a cryogenic system work? ›

How Do Cryogenic Freezing Systems Work? Cryogenic systems use direct impingement with a cryogen -- either liquid nitrogen or carbon dioxide (CO2) -- to rapidly remove heat from the products being processed. CO2 is a consumable refrigerant that is sprayed directly onto the product.

Is cryogenic safe? ›

Like many other dangerous chemicals and gases, cryogens are safe if properly stored and used. However, if misused or used/stored improperly, cryogens can seriously harm or even kill you. What is a cryogen? For our purposes, a cryogenic liquid is defined as any liquid with a normal boiling point below -150°C (123K).

How long can a body be preserved in ice? ›

However, like embalming, it's important to remember that this merely slows the decomposition process – it doesn't stop it. A refrigerated body will last three to four weeks.

Can a body be preserved in ice? ›

Human bodies from permafrost ice

Permafrost ice can preserve human bodies in a nearly pristine state. A large number of permafrost graves belonging to European explorers and whalers are known from the Arctic.

Has any animal been frozen and brought back to life? ›

Scientists were able to revive a tiny, multicellular animal called a bdelloid rotifer that had been frozen in the Siberian permafrost for 24,000 years, reports Marion Renault for the New York Times.

Videos

1. Lecture 01, concept 18: Protein structure determination - X-ray crystallography & Cryo-EM
(Erik Lindahl)
2. Is Cryogenic Sleep Possible?
(Tomorrow Bio)
3. Biophysics: seeing the invisible and the structure of life
(Popular lectures in Theoretical Physics)
4. No Stress for Cells and Staff - Modern Technologies in 2D and 3D Cell Culture
(Omni Life Science GmbH & Co. KG)
5. How to collect human tissue data- standards in clinics
(Latvijas Biomedicīnas pētījumu un studiju centrs)
6. 09. The Pre-Production Phase
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