Scientists have occurred a new method for brain preservation that could be the first step - of plenty of - in being revitalized after organic death.

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Scientists have arisen a new method for mind preservation that might be the an initial step - of numerous - come be restored after organic death. (Getty Images)

It might be possible to live forever, yet you may need to die to execute it.

Scientists have developed a new an approach for brain preservation that might be the very first step - of plenty of - come be revitalized after biological death. It's a technique that its inventor has dubbed "100% fatal," i beg your pardon raises huge ethical problems that could be dwarfed only by the practical problems of do this dream that immortality a reality.

The journey ago to life

The new technique is called "aldehyde stabilized cryopreservation" or ASC, and it's aimed at preserving person brains at the molecular level. This, advocates suggest, might enable the possibility in the future of extract the information from maintained brains, and uploading it into a computer system or man-made body for digital immortality.

The fantasy of somehow being revived after death by clinical science reaches earlier at least to the 1960s through the dawn of "cryonic preservation." because then, a few hundred world have been frozen and stored in fluid nitrogen in order to keep their bodies and brains in the hope that medical science will certainly someday build a means to cure your ailments, repair them, and bring them earlier to life.

Scientists typically are hugely cynical that this sort of preservation works. Dr. Ken Hayworth, a neuroscientist at the Howard Hughes clinical Institute in Virginia, was very early enthusiast for cryonics, and also had arranged to it is in frozen on his death. His research, however, led him to doubt that the cryonic freezing procedure damaged brain so badly that rebirth was impossible.

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

"You need to know just how well your brain is going come be preserved by any of this companies," the says, "I think a most these companies, what they're offering is false hope." This led the to give up his cryonics contract.

But he was still very much interested in the idea the cryonics represented. To stimulate study in this area, Dr. Hayworth established the brain Preservation Foundation, and also raised funds for prizes intended to drive advance of the technology. To success the prize, follow to Dr. Hayworth, the entrant had to show that "the synaptic connectivity of one entire large mammal brain can it is in preserved."

A different vision for mind preservation

Earlier this year, the $80,000 prize to be awarded for a method that basically glues every one of what scientists currently think space the important biological structures in the mind in place. The winner was a team led by Dr. Robert McIntyre, an AI researcher-turned-neurobiologist, who developed a method to overwhelming the brain of a pig v a chemical called gluteraldehyde.

Gluteraldehyde bonds to the protein in the brain, fixing the neurons, synapses and most that the big proteins and also important molecules in the mind in place. These are, as far as neuroscientists know, every one of the important molecules and structures that encode our memory and also personality. If they're preserved, then, at the very least in theory, all of the info that was encoded in the living brain could also be retained. The mind could climate be frozen without damage for lengthy term storage.

Canadian neurobiologist Dr. Michael Hendricks, a researcher at mcgill University, admits the the method can most likely preserve all the details in a brain, yet it's not going come be feasible to bring a mind preserved this method back to biological life. "The major downside of this chemical fixatives is the the tissue is by meaning dead."

"Preserving a mind is not that difficult. Having actually said that, the revival component is extremely difficult, simply insanely, insanely difficult." - Dr. Ken Hayworth

Dr. Hayworth agrees, however has a various vision for mind preservation. Due to the fact that these preserved brains may retain every one of the information in a mind, then it can be feasible to retrieve that information. The brains might be scanned in 3-D, using something favor an electron microscope. This could, in theory, allow all the information in a mind encoded in the biology of the mind to be extracted, and uploaded into a computer.

He admits it's hard to overstate how huge a task this would be. "Preserving a mind is no that difficult. Having said that, the revival part is exceptionally difficult, just insanely, insanely difficult."

It seems ever more likely the we're pull close "the singularity": the point where machine intelligence exceeds human intelligence. (Wikipedia)

The slim amount of details is overwhelming. A mind scanned at the molecular level is most likely to take up at the very least a trilllion, sunshine pixels. Then that information somehow requirements to it is in "run" together a computer system program in a brain or robot.

At the moment, we have no idea the what modern technology might be essential to perform that. Dr. Hayworth to compare the range of the initiative that he expects would be required to that 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 method is likewise likely to it is in enormously controversial, acknowledges Dr. Hayworth, because, ideally, it would be done once the patient is tho alive. "One that the finest ways to acquire a really well preserved brain is to make sure you begin that procedure before your biological brain decays to mush. And so the brain preservation procedure, in one optimal sense, should be occurred as a clinical procedure that might be used before death." In order to minimization the controversy, Dr. Hayworth desires to proceed with researching this slowly, with the conventional and cautious scientific and medical investigation.

What we have done is other that would certainly be incomprehensible and also terrifying to . So ns think it's for sure to say every little thing some imagined far future culture might uncover interesting to do with our brains could be equally incomprehensible and terrifying.- Dr. Michael Hendricks

However the leader the the team that won the brain Preservation Prize seems to be courting, fairly than preventing controversy. Robert McIntyre, with his Silicon valley start-up Nectome, has been cultivating his "100% fatal" mind preservation procedure, acquisition $10,000 deposits native potential customers, and also according come reports in MIT's modern technology Review, consulting with lawyers around the legality that performing brain preservation on living patients under California's aided suicide laws.

This absolutely attracted headlines, but additionally led the Massachusetts academy of Technology, which had actually a research covenant with Nectome come pursue straightforward neuroscience work, come sever ties through the company.

Robert McIntyre taking a rabbit brain out of a -135 levels Celsius freezer unit after overnight storage. The brain is totally solid. (The brain Preservation Foundation)

Dr. Hayworth, because that one, is concerned that this kind of debate could lead to government regulation that would ban the procedure, dashing his really hopes of effective mind preservation.

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

"The presumption here is that whatever culture does this is going to it is in benign with us or comprehensible through respect to us." A an excellent analogy, he suggests, is the Egyptian mummies who preserved themselves for immortality. Today, that course, they're museum specimens.

"What we have actually done," that says, "is miscellaneous that would certainly be it is in incomprehensible and terrifying to them. So ns think it's safe to say whatever some imagined much future society might uncover interesting to do with ours brains could be same incomprehensible and terrifying."


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