Freshmen NBB Neuroscience Essay

Freshmen NBB Neuroscience Essay - Michael Yoon Professor...

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Michael Yoon Professor Crutchner F. Seminar Brain Enhancement Mon, Wed, Fri, 2:00-3:00 Human Hibernation In the year 2032, lasers and heat radiation thaw John Spartan out of his frozen slumber. After 36 years of cryonic hibernation, he is ready to fight crime against his rival, Simon Phoenix. Although this technology is achieved only in the future of a science fantasy thriller, Demolition Man , research on cryonics looks very promising. Cryonics is the process of using freezing temperatures to preserve humans with the purpose of resurrecting them in the future with advanced technology. Although many believe cryonics merely to be science fiction fantasy, research on cryonics is slowly gaining momentum. Although cryonics’ future is still uncertain, the impact it could have on society and its ethical implications could tremendously change how people live their lives. Contrary to popular opinion, cryonics does not simply involve freezing people in ice in the hopes of preserving their body. Normally when human cells are frozen, they will typically lyse, or burst, because human cells are made of water and water expands when it is frozen. If the cells do not burst from freezing, they can still be severely damaged because of huge water loss from osmosis. The Alcor Life Extension Foundation (2011) has developed a technology that can stop the lysing and damaging of cells through cryoprotectants. Cryoprotectants are any substances that protect cells from freezing damage. The cryoprotectants used in cryonics are mixtures of formamide, glycerol and propylene glycol. The process of cooling cells tremendously without actual freezing is vitrification. Water is removed from the cells and replaced with cryoprotectants to protect the cells. Afterwards, bodies are placed in dry ice and then inserted into a liquid nitrogen tank with a temperature of approximately -196 degrees Celsius. Currently, cryonics is only available to those that are legally declared dead because the process is still not fully understood and may lead to accusations of assisted suicide by law firms. Only the deceased are allowed to be cryonically preserved, and procedures must be taken immediately after someone is declared “legally dead.” Although “clinically dead,” people are placed in life support equipment and blood is circulated throughout the body
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This note was uploaded on 04/05/2012 for the course NBB 190 taught by Professor Michaelcrutchner during the Spring '11 term at Emory.

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Freshmen NBB Neuroscience Essay - Michael Yoon Professor...

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