Alcor News

Alcor News

News Blog of the Alcor Life Extension Foundation

Member Communications Director Position Still Open

MEMBER COMMUNICATIONS DIRECTOR

A new position called the Member Communications Director (MCD) has opened at Alcor.

The Member Communications Director’s job will be to communicate with Alcor’s members by email, by telephone, and in person for multiple purposes, among which are:

1. To find out more about the member, including such information as the member’s health condition, occupation, work background, interests, family, and aspirations.

2. To determine whether the member wishes to engage in volunteer activities on behalf of Alcor and, if the member wishes to do so, to provide the member with a variety of ways in which the member can volunteer.

3. To answer the member’s questions about Alcor.

4. To determine whether the member has left assets to be distributed to Alcor after death via a will, trust, or other document. If the member has done so, the MCD will offer to evaluate, in cooperation with attorneys of Alcor’s choosing, whether the legal documents in which the bequest has been made have been executed in a manner that will do the job effectively and, if not, to help correct them.

5. To determine the member’s general degree of wealth and whether the member has any interest in donating money (or other assets) or in leaving a bequest to Alcor. If the member is interested in making a donation, the MCD will provide the member with a variety of projects that need funding via tax-exempt donations.  If the member is interested in making a bequest, the MCD will offer, in cooperation with attorneys of Alcor’s choosing, to help the member in executing a will, trust, or other legal document to accomplish the bequest with attorneys of Alcor’s choosing if it is appropriate to do so.

Qualifications:

The MCD should be an Alcor member who is (or becomes) knowledgeable about Alcor and issues in cryonics, is articulate in talking to members, and is sensitive enough to know when to push forward when members make it clear that they want to help Alcor or want help from Alcor. The MCD should also be able, in cooperation with others of Alcor’s choosing, to prepare written information to help answer questions asked by members.

Compensation:

The salary for the MCD is $60K plus benefits per year. This salary plus relocation expenses has been guaranteed for one year by the Life Extension Foundation (LEF). After one year, the Member Communication Director’s continued employment at Alcor will be dependent upon his or her job performance.

Applications for the Member Communications Director should be mailed to D’Bora Tarrant at Alcor Life Extension Foundation, 7895 Acoma Drive, Suite 110, Scottsdale, Arizona 85260 or (b) be sent by email to D’Bora Tarrant at: dbora@alcor.org.

Alcor Lobby Area

Part of our ongoing effort to update the look of the Alcor facility includes a sofa, chairs, and table that are stylish without being expensive, a convincing synthetic plant (live plants do not receive adequate lighting in this area), a Shoji screen.

Steve Graber created this wall design in Solidworks with the Alcor name laser cut out of blue polycarbonate and fitted into the aluminum. The entire surface was wire wheel polished and mounted in 3 pieces.

The area includes an “infinity mirror”. The new space is a lot more inviting and has a very modern look which is more consistent with Alcor.

The entire area has been repainted, including the chipped baseboards and around the doors, and the floor has been cleaned. We removed two unused office cubicles closest to the door and turned the area created into a reception area for visitors and guests.

Conference Room

In the conference room, the walls and door to the Patient Care Bay have been painted. Max More observed that the walls were becoming crowded with the ever-growing number of photographs of patients and suggested that they should be replaced with an electronic display.

Steve Graber ran with that idea and designed and built a multi‐display digital picture frame with 5 monitors fitted in an artistic aluminum frame assembly. The monitors are set to randomly display images with a time interval between 1 and 15 minutes. These monitors can also display videos should that ever become part of our display rotation.

Research and Development

New O.R. Table: Cooldown-Stage Blanket
One of the more interesting features of our new computer controlled perfusion system is the ability to transition from perfusion table to intermediate cooldown system without moving the patient off the table. In other words, after the patient has been cryoprotected, the table is designed to be sealed and for the patient’s temperature to be dropped to ‐ 80C (or thereabout), at which point a transfer to the cooldown crackphone system could be performed much more easily.

The original prototype table did not have enough insulation which made it very inefficient to cool. Rather than re‐build the table Steve Graber had an idea to build a reflective mylar thermal blanket which would increase the insulation factor and also serve to isolate the exterior surface of the table from frost-forming humidity. The thermal blanket took the form of 3 layers of reflective mylar, each sandwiched by two sheets of cotton cloth for a blanket with a total of 5 layers. The entire blanket was custom fitted to the table and held in place with velcro and magnets. Numerous tests were run on the table both with and without the blanket and although we have not officially concluded the testing our initial calculations indicate a significant reduction in LN2 usage, and an almost complete elimination of frost buildup across the table.

Readiness and Transport Report

Response planning
A 98 year old member in the St Louis area has had several medical issues over the past year, requiring frequent hospitalization to care for his illnesses.  Any serious medical event can be life-threatening for someone of that age, making it difficult to plan when a standby might be warranted.  To help guard against the consequences of an unexpected clinical death, Aaron traveled to St Louis to check on our member’s health and establish a relationship with local medical providers and a mortuary, to assist while a response team is en route. 

A mini-med kit has been prepositioned with assurance from the nursing staff – and the blessing of the medical director – that the medications would be administered and circulated immediately following pronouncement.  The patient would also be surrounded by ice bags and the local mortuary would be dispatched to relocate the patient to their cooler, which is maintained just a few degrees above freezing.  Once a response team arrives, the mortuary’s prep room would be available for use, if a washout was desired, and/or the patient can be prepped for shipping.

Although many of the nurses and administrators are new, this is the same nursing facility where this member’s spouse resided, when a standby and stabilization was performed on her a little over two years prior.  Reports of professionalism on our previous standby allowed for a warm welcome again with the new administration.

Training
A recent training session was held when a cadaver was made available to Alcor to practice our procedures.  Among the list of objectives is surgical access and cannulation of the femoral and carotid vessels, practicing field neuro washout techniques, and median sternotomy, cannulation and whole body washout.  All of these are planned to be performed in a portable ice bath to more accurately simulate field based procedures.

Watch List
There have been a string of elderly members who have had serious health issues recently. The Deployment Committee has been able to obtain high level medical information to accurately monitor the health status of these individuals.  Currently, Alcor has a total of nine members on its watch list with various health issues that require occasional communication.

Administrative Report

Membership Statistics
Alcor had 947 members on its Emergency Responsibility List. Four memberships were approved during the month of September, no memberships were reinstated, one membership was cancelled and no members were cryopreserved. Overall, there was a net gain of three members in September.

Applicant Statistics
Alcor had 54 applicants for membership. Seven new applicants were added, four applicants were converted to members and no applicants were cancelled resulting in net a gain of three applicants in September.

Information Packet Statistics
Alcor received 88 info pack requests in August. Eleven were handed out during facility tours or from special request. The average total of 107 info packs sent per month in 2011 compares to 199 in 2010. The full Information Packet is now available online.

Alcor Proposes Action to Address Cryopreservation Underfunding

Alcor’s Board and Management recently completed an analysis of the funding arrangements of Alcor’s 944 cryopreservation members as of August, 2011.  As a result of many members signing up years ago when costs were lower, there is a large and growing gap between arranged funding and present costs of performing cryopreservation.  This gap is projected to grow with time, eventually becoming unmanageable unless steps are taken to address it.

The article Cryopreservation Funding and Inflation contains the results of the recent funding analysis, and proposals for action. Alcor asks that all members and prospective members read this article to understand the impact that underfunding (funding falling below current cryopreservation minimums) may have on their cryopreservation arrangements.  Click on the name of the article, Cryopreservation Funding and Inflation, to read the article.