Scientists have developed a new technique for brain preservation that might be the very first step - of plenty of - in being restored after biological death.

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Scientists have occurred a new technique for mind preservation that could be the very first step - of numerous - to be revitalized after organic death. (Getty Images)
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It could be possible to live forever, however you may have to die to perform it.

Scientists have arisen a new an approach for mind preservation that could be the very first step - of many - to be restored after organic death. It's a an approach that the inventor has referred to as "100% fatal," i beg your pardon raises substantial ethical worries that could be dwarfed only by the practical troubles of do this dream the immortality a reality.

The journey back to life

The new method is referred to as "aldehyde stabilized cryopreservation" or ASC, and it's aimed at preserving human being brains in ~ the molecular level. This, supporters suggest, might permit the possibility later on of extracting the details from kept brains, and uploading it right into a computer system or artificial body for digital immortality.



The fantasy of in which method being restored after fatality by medical science reaches earlier at the very least to the 1960s v the dawn of "cryonic preservation." because then, a couple of hundred civilization have been frozen and also stored in liquid nitrogen in stimulate to preserve their bodies and brains in the expect that medical science will certainly someday construct a means to cure their ailments, fix them, and also bring them earlier to life.

Scientists generally are hugely doubtful that this type of preservation works. Dr. Ken Hayworth, a neuroscientist in ~ the Howard Hughes clinical Institute in Virginia, was an early enthusiast because that cryonics, and also had arranged to it is in frozen top top his death. His research, however, led the to suspect that the cryonic freezing procedure damaged brains so badly that rebirth was impossible.



Dr. Ken Hayworth is a neuroscientist in ~ the Howard Hughes clinical Institute in Virginia (The brain Preservation Foundation)

"You have to know exactly how well your brain is going to be kept by any of this companies," the says, "I think a the majority of these companies, what they're selling is false hope." This led that to abandon his cryonics contract.

But he to be still really much interested in the idea that cryonics represented. To stimulate research in this area, Dr. Hayworth established the mind Preservation Foundation, and also raised funds for prizes intended to drive breakthrough of the technology. To success the prize, according to Dr. Hayworth, the entrant had actually to show that "the synaptic connectivity of one entire huge mammal mind can it is in preserved."

A different vision for mind preservation

Earlier this year, the $80,000 prize was awarded for a method that basically glues all of what scientists right now think are the important organic structures in the mind in place. The winner was a team led by Dr. Robert McIntyre, one AI researcher-turned-neurobiologist, who occurred a technique to flood the mind of a pig through a chemical called gluteraldehyde.



Gluteraldehyde bonds to the proteins in the brain, solving the neurons, synapses and also most the the large proteins and also important molecule in the brain in place. These are, as far as neuroscientists know, every one of the necessary molecules and also structures that encode our memory and personality. If they're preserved, then, at least in theory, every one of the info that was encoded in the living brain could additionally be retained. The mind could then be frozen without damages for long term storage.

Canadian neurobiologist Dr. Michael Hendricks, a researcher at mc glitter University, admits that the technique can likely preserve every the information in a brain, however it's not going to be possible to bring a brain preserved this means back to organic life. "The significant downside of these chemical fixatives is that the organization is by definition dead."

"Preserving a brain is no that difficult. Having said that, the revival component is exceptionally difficult, just insanely, insanely difficult." - Dr. Ken Hayworth

Dr. Hayworth agrees, yet has a various vision for mind preservation. Since these maintained brains may retain every one of the information in a mind, climate it could be possible to retrieve that information. The brains can be scanned in 3-D, utilizing something like an electron microscope. This could, in theory, permit all the info in a psychic encoded in the biology of the brain to it is in extracted, and also uploaded right into a computer.

He admits it's tough to overstate how huge a job this would be. "Preserving a brain is not that difficult. Having said that, the revival part is exceptionally difficult, just insanely, insanely difficult."


It appears ever an ext likely the we're pull close "the singularity": the allude where machine intelligence exceeds human being intelligence. (Wikipedia)

The thin amount of information is overwhelming. A mind scanned in ~ the molecular level is most likely to take up at the very least a trilllion, trillion pixels. Then that info somehow needs to be "run" as a computer system program in a brain or robot.

At the moment, we have no idea the what modern technology might be vital to do that. Dr. Hayworth to compare the scale of the effort that that expects would be forced to the of the Apollo moon landings, and also doesn't think it would certainly be technically feasible for at least fifty percent a century or more.

Nectome's "100% fatal" procedure

Preserving a brain this means is also likely to be enormously controversial, acknowledges Dr. Hayworth, because, ideally, it would be done when the patient is quiet alive. "One of the finest ways to gain a yes, really well preserved brain is to make sure you begin that procedure before your biological mind decays come mush. And so the brain preservation procedure, in an optimal sense, should be arisen as a medical procedure that can be applied before death." In order to minimization the controversy, Dr. Hayworth desires to continue with examining this slowly, v the conventional and also cautious scientific and medical investigation.

What we have actually done is other that would be incomprehensible and also terrifying to . So ns think it's safe to say whatever some imagined far future culture might find interesting to carry out with our brains might be same incomprehensible and terrifying.- Dr. Michael Hendricks

However the leader the the team who won the mind Preservation Prize seems to be courting, rather than staying clear of controversy. Robert McIntyre, v his Silicon sink start-up Nectome, has actually been fostering his "100% fatal" mind preservation procedure, acquisition $10,000 deposits native potential customers, and according come reports in MIT's modern technology Review, consulting with lawyers around the legality the performing mind preservation on life patients under California's aided suicide laws.

This absolutely attracted headlines, but additionally led the Massachusetts institute of Technology, which had actually a research agreement with Nectome to pursue basic neuroscience work, come sever ties v the company.


Robert McIntyre taking a rabbit brain out of a -135 degrees Celsius freezer unit ~ overnight storage. The brain is fully solid. (The mind Preservation Foundation)

Dr. Hayworth, because that one, is concerned that this type of controversy could command to federal government regulation that would ban the procedure, dashing his hopes of effective mind preservation.

Dr. Michael Hendricks, however, thinks the those really hopes are slim in any kind of case. He thinks Dr. Hayworth, if anything, underestimates the challenge of reviving a maintained brain, and wonders why a future culture would want this. But beyond that, he wonders if those who wake increase in a future society would necessarily be happy through their brand-new life.

"The presumption here is the whatever society does this is walk to be benign v us or comprehensible with respect to us." A an excellent analogy, that suggests, is the Egyptian mummies who preserved themselves for immortality. Today, that course, they're museum specimens.

"What we have done," that says, "is miscellaneous that would certainly be be incomprehensible and also terrifying to them. So i think it's for sure to say whatever some imagined much future culture might find interesting to do with our brains can be equally incomprehensible and also terrifying."


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