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Science & Technology

Can cryonics bring a person back to life ?

August 18, 2013 | Comment icon 28 comments



Image Credit: CC 3.0 Robin Müller
Thousands of people are queuing up to have their body cryogenically preserved after they die.
[!gad]Cryonics offers customers the possibility of immortality by freezing their remains after death in the hope of being resuscitated again in the future. It's a long shot, but to the thousands of people willing to pay upwards of $250,000 to have themselves preserved, it's worth it. Clients who can't afford to have their whole body preserved can instead opt to have just their head frozen for a marginally smaller fee.

But will it ever be feasible to thaw out a person centuries down the line and bring them back to life ? There are significant risks of damage to the body and brain from prolonged periods of being frozen and even if this were not an issue, there's the small problem of resuscitating someone who has been dead for hundreds of years. Whether these problems will ever be solved sufficiently to make the preservation process worthwhile however remains to be seen.
The idea of preserving a person's body at very low temperatures in the hope that it will be restored by future medical technology has been a staple of science fiction. But could cryonics be a genuine way of being brought back to life, years into the future?


Source: BBC News | Comments (28)


Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #19 Posted by Mikko-kun 9 years ago
That might be a scary thought for those who are religious... If you are frozen before your spirit/soul/ka/magicsmoke goes whereever it is supposed to go, then is it trapped there? If you could be brought back to life, it would seem to suggest that it does. Or maybe that your spirit is yanked back into your body. Imagine you're frozen and loaded onto a spaceship leaving for Andromeda at 1/10th of c. And the ship gets there in like 2 million years. And then the ship auto-wakes your body and BAM!!, you're back in your body after 2 million years in Heaven. That would be Hell. If that happened you'... [More]
Comment icon #20 Posted by Aaronsmom 9 years ago
A quarter of a million dollars seems like a whole lot of money to throw away for a person to indulge himself/herself with fairy tale thinking to allay the fear of death. If the person has no heirs, or simply no one to whom he/she wants to give it, then I guess I say, fine, you can't use it anymore and you can't think of anything better to with it, so if you want to donate your life savings to some Charlatan, go ahead, I guess. Too bad the person won't give the money to a worthy charity instead, but whatever. I completely believe future societies will no doubt have amazing advances, the likes o... [More]
Comment icon #21 Posted by brlesq1 9 years ago
I can see the lure, but you'd be stuck in the past while the world has moved on. Cultural changes and all that. Oh, well. I guess you can get used to anything if you're exposed to it long enough.
Comment icon #22 Posted by DieChecker 9 years ago
I can see the lure, but you'd be stuck in the past while the world has moved on. Cultural changes and all that. Oh, well. I guess you can get used to anything if you're exposed to it long enough. If someone even goes away for 10 years now, they come back to a completely different environment. 20 years ago many computers were still using DOS commands only. Imagine a computer Geek being moved 20 years into the future and having to deal with the WWW and Windows 8, and all the dozens of download programs we need these days. He'd be completely lost. Now imagine moving 1000 years into the future. It... [More]
Comment icon #23 Posted by VvROMULUSvV 9 years ago
Reading people's comments makes me think no one actually read the article. Why pose questions that were clearly answered?
Comment icon #24 Posted by gatekeeper32 9 years ago
Who knows? Maybe in a 1000 years a robot and lobster can revive them.
Comment icon #25 Posted by Mikko-kun 9 years ago
A quarter of a million dollars seems like a whole lot of money to throw away for a person to indulge himself/herself with fairy tale thinking to allay the fear of death. If the person has no heirs, or simply no one to whom he/she wants to give it, then I guess I say, fine, you can't use it anymore and you can't think of anything better to with it, so if you want to donate your life savings to some Charlatan, go ahead, I guess. Too bad the person won't give the money to a worthy charity instead, but whatever. I completely believe future societies will no doubt have amazing advances, the likes o... [More]
Comment icon #26 Posted by MamaTweedy 9 years ago
What if you are reincarnated and are alive in another body and they try to bring you back to your old body?
Comment icon #27 Posted by Mikko-kun 9 years ago
MamaTweedy, it'd probably leave either of the bodies soulless or spiritless. If your spirit had already moved to another body, I doubt it'd jump back and leave the new body spiritless, but instead a new spirit would either be born or an existing spirit would occupy your old body. That sounds more natural to me than if your spirit ripped itself out of your new body to return to the old one. If your spirit has left once, you should not have a reason to return, because usually we have no recollection of our past lives. Or if we do, it's a bit iffy still.
Comment icon #28 Posted by Kaa-Tzik 9 years ago
Maybe, only maybe, in the future we can put a person into the at present sci-fi only "stasis" while they still live. We cannot bring anybody back from the dead, otherwise death has no meaning and we need another word. Dead is dead, the end, final, dropped of the perch. As for "soul", that is another question.


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