Freezing for the future ???

February 4, 2013, 6:18 pm Madeleine Kennard Today Tonight

Australians are being asked to invest in the country’s first cryonics facility, freezing people who hope to be brought back to life in the future.

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Cryonics freezing hits Australia

Australians are being asked to invest in the country’s first cryonics facility, freezing people who hope to be brought back to life in the future.

While no one has ever been successfully frozen and then brought back to life, plenty of people are prepared to take the risk that one day it will work.

Immortality is something we’re used to experiencing in the movies, but could it be possible in real life?

A technique that’s been used since the 60s, cryonics, is here to say we can.

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Cryonics is the process of freezing humans moments after they’re pronounced legally dead in the hope that one day technology will be advanced enough to bring them back to life.

Marta Sanberg is a cryonics believer, and her husband Helmer was frozen eighteen years ago in a US cryonics facility.

“When Helmer became ill I researched what to do to help him. I researched normal, standard medical procedures and essentially you couldn’t do anything. His brain tumour (was too advanced) by the time they discovered it,” Marta said.

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Cryonics gave her hope that one day, in the not too distant future, she could be reunited with Helmer.

Once the person has been declared dead the preserving has to start within hours. First the blood and water are drained and replaced with a cryoprotectant solution to stop the formation of ice crystals in the body.

It is then cooled down with nitrogen gas and placed into a vat of liquid nitrogen, which brings the final temperature down to -190 degrees.

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There are currently three facilities in the world – two in the US and one in Russia. Only 250 people have so far undergone the procedure.

Now Mark Wilton and his business partner Peter Tsolakids plan to open the first cryonics facility in the southern hemisphere.

Wilton says the purpose of cryonics is to “keep people in an unchanged state, in a quality preserved state, for a long period of time, then as medical science continues to get better at being able to heal the damage caused by diseases or age.”

Including themselves, eleven Australians have so far invested $50,000 in the unusual business venture. They plan to open the doors to the rest of Australia in 2014.

“It sounds like a lot of money, and it is a lot of money, but most people take up life insurance to do it. So people normally in good health may take out a life insurance policy and basically that policy pays of the suspension when you die,” Tsolakids said.

However scientist Gary Bryant from RMIT University warns people they are wasting their money if they invest in cryonics.

“Chronically freezing a human will never be possible,” Bryant said.

“It’s impossible to freeze every single type of cell in the human body and then successfully bring them back, thaw them back to life. Individual cell types can be, but those cell types need to be frozen at very different rates, using very different conditions in order for that to happen, so to freeze a complex organism is impossible.”

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