Zombie Bunnies

Zombie Bunnies

Okay, maybe the title is a little deceiving. But, there has been a huge new discovery in the world of cryonics.

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MIT grad Robert McIntyre has announced that his team has cryonically frozen the brain of a small mammal and recovered it in “near perfect condition”. According to the foundation, “it is the first demonstration that near-perfect, long term structural reservation of an intact mammalian brain in achievable”.

They used the “Aldehyde-Stabilized Cryopreservation” protocol approach, meaning the researchers dispersed a collection of chemicals through the vascular system of the brain which fixes the neurons in place, then converted it to a glasslike object by cooling it to -210 degrees F (-130 C) for long term storage. Later on, the brain was rewarmed and the cryoprotectant chemicals were removed.

“This is a big deal,” John Smart, co-founder of the Brain Preservation Foundation, says. “It’s the first time that we have a procedure that can protect everything neuroscientists think is involved with learning and memory.

The promise of a deathless future at the heart of cryonics research presumes that immortality may be achieved by uploading our neural structures into machines. However, it is unclear how much memory can be retained.

Though this is a wonderful break through, it does raise other questions. For example, if someone preserves the neurons in their brain, there’s no guarantee that it’s enough to preserve their “soul”/memories/”self”.

However, the excitement in the community is palpable as research continues.

 

From Flickr User, Jim, The Photographer. This photo is licensed under Creative Commons.

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