Alcor News

Alcor News

News Blog of the Alcor Life Extension Foundation

2013 Alcor Annual Board Meeting and Strategic Meeting

The 2013 Alcor Annual Meeting will be held on Saturday, September 7th at 10:00 AM (PDT) at the Alcor facility (7895 East Acoma Drive in Scottsdale, AZ). The elections of directors and officers will be conducted at this meeting and a wide range of topic will be discussed publicly both before and after a lunch break. Members and the public are encouraged to attend this meeting.

The 2013 Strategic Meeting is also scheduled the same weekend. This is a closed meeting but a summary of the topics discussed at the 2013 Strategic Meeting will be posted to our blog and newsletter.

40 Scholarships Available to Teens & Twenties 5 2014

By Cairn Erfreuliche Idun

The Fifth Annual Young Cryonicists Gathering
Teens & Twenties 5 2014:
Getting to Know You –
You Getting to Know Each Other

Fri-Sun; April 4-6, 2014 Deerfield Beach FL
Host: Life Extension Foundation

Greetings to Young Cryonicists,
Please follow the link to the full Teens & Twenties packet. You will find your
scholarship application and schedule.

All
attention will be focused on:
our getting to know you and
you getting to know each other.
PLUS: an update on the latest emergency response technologies
& revival strategies.

Who is Eligible?

Fully signed up young cryonicists from all cryonics organizations in their late
teens through age thirty (17-30) as of Apri l 10, 2014 – may apply to attend.

Younger Cryonicists With Parent (s)

Twelve through sixteen year olds may attend when accompanied by
their parent(s) or guardian.

Parents/guardians of attendees aged 17-19 are also encouraged to accompany
their child. All attending parents will be put in touch with each other should
they choose to have their own “get together” during the “young cryonicists”
gathering.

Program

Some individuals are social butterflies. This is not so for everyone. And we
want everyone to meet everyone . Therefore, I have designed a
diverse range of “getting to know you” activities. If you would enjoy
participating in these various getting acquainted activities, then
this is for you.

SCHOLARSHIPS:

Life Extension Foundation, through a generous education grant, is offering 40
scholarships that pay for ALL of the following:
— – U.S. airfare to/from South Florida (or up to $1000 for origin outside the U.S.)
— – Hotel accommodations for Friday and Saturday nights
— – Meals and beverages on Friday night, all day Saturday, and Sunday breakfast
and lunch
— – Registration fee – $350 – also covered

Please click on this website for a full packet with details & application forms.

Forever,
Cairn Erfreuliche Idun
Founder/Director: T2
PS Come Early. Stay Late.
Some attendees to T2 enjoy spending extra time in Florida – especially since their
flight is already paid for via their scholarship.
This is at their own expense for additional lodging and food.
I look forward to getting to know you.

Resuscitation and Reintegration of Cryonics Patients Symposium in Portland Oregon

On Sunday May 12, 2013, the Institute for Evidence Based Cryonics will organize a symposium about the resuscitation and reintegration of cryonics patients in Portland, Oregon. This is the first public meeting exclusively concerned with the repair, resuscitation, and reintegration of cryonics patients. Alcor President Max More will be one of the speakers at the event.

The symposium is being held at The Cleaners at Ace Hotel (The Cleaners at Ace Hotel
403 SW 10TH AVE, 97205) in downtown Portland, Oregon from 10:00 am to 07:00 pm.

Admission is free. Registration for the event is possible at the event Facebook page.

On Saturday evening, the day prior to the symposium, Aubrey de Grey and Max More will be speaking about rejuvenation biotechnologies and cryonics at the Paragon Restaurant & Bar in Portland, Oregon.

Admission for this event is free and registration for this event is possible on the event Facebook page, too.

The current line-up of speakers is as follows (the exact schedule will be announced soon):
BEN BEST – EFFECTS OF TEMPERATURE ON PRESERVATION AND RESTORATION OF CRYONICS PATIENTS

Macromolecular temperature is a quantification of atomic-level molecular motion. The ability to maintain and reconstruct cryonics patients could be critically dependent on low temperature atomic/molecular motion and on the ability to operate nanomachines at cryogenic temperatures. Possible problems and solutions will be discussed.

Bio: Ben Best was President of the Cryonics Society of Canada for about a decade, after which he was President of the Cryonics Institute for nearly a decade. He is currently Director of Research Oversight for the Life Extension Foundation. The cryonics section of his website is one of the best sources of information about the science behind cryonics available on the internet ( www.benbest.com/cryonics/cryonics.html )

CHANA DE WOLF – RECONSTRUCTIVE CONNECTOMICS

Complete preservation of the “connectome” should be sufficient for meaningful resuscitation attempts of cryonics patients but it may not be necessary. As long as the original connectome can be inferred from what is preserved, damage associated with cerebral ischemia or suboptimal cryonics technologies do not necessarily exclude future resuscitation. In this presentation I will present a general framework for reconstructive connectomics and explore theoretical and experimental research directions for reconstructing damaged and altered connectomes.

Bio: Chana de Wolf lives in Portland, Oregon, where she works as a business manager and biomedical researcher. She holds a B.S. in Experimental Psychology (2001), an M.S. in Cognition and Neuroscience (2003), and has extensive management and laboratory experience. She has several years of experience working as a research assistant in a variety of laboratory environments, and has taught college-level courses in neuroscience lab methods and biology. She is a Director and researcher for Advanced Neural Biosciences. Chana joined as a member of the Alcor Life Extension Foundation in 2007 where she also worked as a Research Associate at Alcor to help build a sustainable, multi-faceted cryonics research program

RANDAL KOENE – BRAIN EMULATION AND NEUROPROSTHETICS: A SYSTEM OF FUNCTIONS TO BE SUSTAINED

Being, now or following revival from cryopreservation, ultimately depends on one’s ability to experience and to do so in the manner that is characteristic of one’s individual mind. Recently, it has become possible to address this problem in a concrete and systematic manner, largely due to rapid advances in computational neuroscience and data acquisition, both structurally (the popular field of “connectomics”) and functionally (brain activity mapping). The process of personal experience – like any process – involves some mechanisms operating at a given time under the influence of an environment state, a state that can include sensory input and functional “memory” established as a result of prior conditions. An emulation or prosthesis is then the attempt to replace a system of processing with an equivalent set of mechanisms that carry out the same processing within established success criteria. The engineering approach to understanding a system sufficiently that it can be emulated or replaced by prostheses is known as system identification. I will describe how system identification may be feasibly carried out for an individual human brain, and how constraints and requirements can be learned through projects with iterative improvements. I will present the projects that are underway to develop neuroscience tools with which successful system identification may be accomplished.

Bio: Dr. Randal A. Koene is CEO and Founder of the not-for-profit science foundation Carboncopies.org as well as the neural interfaces company NeuraLink Co. Dr. Koene is Science Director of the 2045 Initiative and a scientific board member in several neurotechnology companies and organizations.

MAX MORE – MAXIMIZING REVIVAL PROBABILITY: PRESERVATION, RECORDING, INTERPOLATION, AND RECONSTRUCTION

The proper ultimate goal of cryonics is reversible suspended animation. While we should continually strive for that goal, we do not know if or when it will be fully achieved. Until then, we must grapple with the probability that cryopreservation will in itself not fully preserve personal identity critical information. A revived individual may be missing pieces of his or her life, or some of the existing pieces may be fuzzier than they were before clinical death. It may be feasible to fill in the gaps and to sharpen the focus by feeding into the repair and revival process biographical information with a high degree of resolution. That information may also serve to validate the accuracy of a reconstructed connectome. Up to the present, cryonics organizations have offered minimal storage of personal-identity relevant information. In this talk, I will consider ways in which members of cryonics organizations could use the emerging tools and technologies associated with the “Quantified Self” concept to capture and record detailed biographical information, and how cryonics organizations could assist with this and convey the resulting data to a future capable of repairing and resuscitating cryonics patients.

Bio: Max More is the President & Chief Executive Officer of the Alcor Life Extension Foundation. More has a degree in Philosophy, Politics, and Economics from St. Anne’s College, Oxford University (1984-87). He was awarded a Dean’s Fellowship in Philosophy in 1987 by the University of Southern California. He studied and taught philosophy at USC with an emphasis on philosophy of mind, ethics, and personal identity, completing his Ph.D. in 1995, with a dissertation that examined issues including the nature of death, and what it is about each individual that continues despite great change over time.

KEEGAN MACINTOSH – REINTEGRATION OF CRYONICS PATIENTS: LEGAL AND LOGISTICAL CONSIDERATIONS

Given the host of complicated problems to be solved before resuscitation of cryonics patients is possible, it is easy to leave planning for their reintegration for another day. However, this assumes that there is nothing particularly important that can be done about reintegration prior to patient cryopreservation, which might be impossible, or at least far more difficult afterward. It also underestimates the impact that fear of dis-integration has on individuals’ decisions on whether to sign up for cryonics, which might be alleviated if we had more concrete plans for reintegration, with presently actionable components. In this talk, Keegan Macintosh will survey several aspects of cryonics patient reintegration, both legal and logistical, that can be tangibly worked on today.

Bio: Keegan Macintosh received his J.D. from the University of British Columbia in 2012, and is Executive Director of the Lifespan Society of British Columbia, a non-profit organization established to educate the public on life extension strategies and protect access to potentially life-saving technologies. Keegan is a board member of the Institute for Evidence Based Cryonics, as well as the Cryonics Society of Canada.

ASCHWIN DE WOLF – CRYONICS WITHOUT REPAIR

Cryonics aims to stabilize critically ill patients at low temperatures in anticipation of future medical treatment. While the concept of cell repair is often associated with the practice of cryonics, it is not an intrinsic element of the procedure. Advanced cryonics technologies will permit reversible cryopreservation of the patient. If human suspended animation would be achieved cryonics would solely involve future treatment of the patient’s disease and its underlying pathologies. In this talk I will discuss why reversible cryopreservation is important and which technical obstacles need to be overcome to make it a reality.

Bio: Aschwin is a Director and researcher for Advanced Neural Biosciences, the editor of Cryonics magazine, serves as a consultant for a number of cryonics organizations, and has published technical articles on various cryonics topics.

Bring in a new member and we will credit your membership dues

Membership growth has slowed to a crawl. This is unfortunate because Alcor has reached a point where we could enjoy considerable economies of scale: We could manage many more members with minimal or no increase in staffing costs. That would enable us to reduce membership dues while building up our resources. A modest acceleration in membership growth would, I believe, move us into a virtuous circle where growth enables reductions in dues which further spurs membership growth.

The most effective way to bring in new members has been through direct encouragement by existing members. Many of us realize this, but may not make it a priority to nudge our friends a little more to sign up and potentially save their lives.

How can we spur more members to gently persuade those they care about to move ahead with making cryonics arrangements? Perhaps some financial incentive will help. At the April 6, 2013 board meeting, I proposed that anyone who is primarily responsible for getting a new member to sign up will, at their request, be given a one-year waiver of membership dues. The board approved this proposal.

For an existing member to receive the dues waiver, they must (a) be credited by the person who has signed up; (b) ask for the waiver; (c) not be otherwise profiting from the signup; (d) wait until the new member has completed all essential paperwork and has paid at least six months of dues. If the member signs up two new members, they are eligible for a two-year waiver of dues. If the new member is a student or family member, the existing member is eligible for a waiver of six months of dues.

Who do you know who could do with some encouraging to sign up? Please, give it some thought, then help yourself and help the organization by helping to stimulate membership growth.

Max More
President

Alcor director Michael Seidl steps down

On April 6, 2013 attorney Michael Seidl stepped down from the Alcor board of directors after a decade of distinguished service. Michael cited increased family obligations as the reason for stepping down, acknowledging that being an Alcor director is time-consuming and challenging. Although he has been a steadfast contributor and wise, balanced voice on the board in matters legal, financial, and strategic, he believes he cannot continue to put in the time he feels the position calls for.

The president and the board wish Michael well, and look forward to continuing to consult with him as an Advisor to the board, and perhaps welcome him back in the future if circumstances change.

Alcor’s 117th Patient

At 99 years old, whole-body Alcor member A-2419 (confidential) became one of the oldest individuals to ever be cryopreserved, with only two other members being slightly older. Living in St. Louis, Missouri for his entire life, he served in the Army Air Force during WWII and was awarded two Bronze Service Stars.

For most people in their 90s, any serious health complication can be life threatening. Alcor closely monitored the health of this individual when he entered into a long-term care facility in 2009. Due to numerous bouts of pneumonia, hospitalization became a frequent and troubling concern for Alcor’s Deployment Committee in determining when a standby response might be needed. In September, 2011, Aaron Drake and Steve Graber of Alcor were deployed to St. Louis for a three day standby when physicians were gravely concerned over the member’s health. Fortunately, a strong recovery ensued and the standby was terminated.

On March 6th, 2013, as Alcor was in the middle of performing a cryopreservation of their 116th patient, we received a call from the member’s family that A-2419’s health was failing and they expected him to pass within the next week. After discussing the situation in more depth with medical providers in charge of our member’s care, Alcor’s Deployment Committee decided to send Suspended Animation to initiate a standby on the following day. After four days, the member succumbed to his illness. Directed by Catherine Baldwin, Suspended Animation immediately performed stabilization, cool down and field washout procedures. To further avoid any potential delays associated with commercial airline shipping, the family provided additional funds for a private jet service to fly the patient directly to Scottsdale.

The patient arrived at Alcor seven hours after cardiac arrest and the cryoprotective surgery began 15 minutes later. On March 10th, 2013, A-2419 joined his wife at Alcor, who was also cryopreserved in 2009.

Alcor’s 116th Patient

On March 6, 2013, following pronouncement, we cryopreserved (confidential) 91-year old member A-2605 (neurocryopreservation option), who became Alcor’s 116th patient.

On February 22, 2013, Alcor received a call from the son of one of our members. His father had been admitted to a hospital in Chapel Hill, NC for an infection, but a previously diagnosed condition of normal pressure hydrocephalus (NPH) had progressed to the point of him losing the ability to swallow (eat or drink). His doctors gave him a “failure to thrive” diagnosis”. In absence of low quality-of-life interventions, the doctors were soon suggesting to the family that they move him to a hospice facility for his remaining time.

The family were surprised that he was that sick, but a family friend who is a nurse thought he maybe had a week or two to live. The son, who was very supportive of his father’s wishes, and other family members decided to relocate our member to Scottsdale to enter into hospice. After discussing the options and their costs – including driving, flying a commercial flight, and using a medically equipped jet and medical crew – the eventual decision was made a few days later to use the chartered medical jet.

We made arrangements with a hospice in Phoenix to accept the member. On February 25, the hospice confirmed availability of a place at a hospital in Paradise Valley about 7 miles from Alcor. Our member arrived on Tuesday February 26, early in the evening. Our equipment and the emergency vehicle were stationed at the hospital, and Aaron Drake, Alcor’s Medical Response Director stayed at a hotel down the street that evening. Not knowing how long our member’s decline might take, two trained standby team members from Southern California drove to Scottsdale, arriving late on the 27th.

From the 27th on, someone was on site at all times, with at least two team members on site at all times from 9:00 am on the 28th. Another Phoenix-area team member and one from Florida also participated in the standby. To better monitor the patient’s decline, the patient was put on telemetry so that his vital signs could be monitored continuously by a full-time staff. Our procedures were explained to several members of staff at the hospital, including the Associate Chief Medical Officer of the hospice.

After some ups and downs in the patient’s condition, on the morning of Wednesday March 6, the patient stopped breathing and was officially pronounced at 8:45 am. Five team members participated during the stabilization since it occurred right around shift change. A-2605 arrived in Alcor’s operating room at 9:46 am. Cryoprotective perfusion was concluded at 2:48 pm. The following day, the family of the patient came for a tour of Alcor.

Alcor’s 115th Patient

On Wednesday February 6, 2013, confidential Alcor member A-1349 was pronounced and cryopreservation procedures were begun immediately on Alcor’s behalf by Suspended Animation.

A-1349, a whole-body member aged 77, became Alcor’s 115th patient. Pronouncement occurred shortly after midnight on the east coast, and the patient arrived at Alcor at 2:46pm. One notable aspect of the procedure on the Scottsdale end was that we used a new surgeon for the case. This surgeon had observed surgery on two previous cases and so was familiar with the process. We were very happy with her performance, and are glad to deepen our reserve of suitable surgeons for cryonics procedures.

The Cryopreservation of Kim Suozzi

Alcor member Kim Suozzi (A-2643) was pronounced legally deceased on January 17, 2013. A neurocryopreservation, Kim became Alcor’s 114th patient.

In every single case, involuntary clinical death (by today’s standards) is a terrible thing to happen. Kim Suozzi’s situation was especially unfortunate in that she was cryopreserved at the age of 23, following a less-than-two-year battle with recurrent glioblastoma multiforme, a highly aggressive brain cancer. This is the most common and most aggressive malignant primary brain tumor in humans, invariably fatal, and with a median survival time of approximately 12–14 months.

Born in June of 1989, by all accounts Kim was a very bright young woman graduating from Truman State University with degrees in Psychology, Linguistics, and a minor in Cognitive Science. Kim’s desire to study neuroscience in graduate school sparked her interest in cryonics early in college, but, naturally enough, she felt no sense of urgency to make arrangements. That changed after being diagnosed with glioblastoma multiforme in March 2011. After undergoing several treatments, including two clinical trials at Dana-Farber beginning in June 2012, her prognosis remained very poor. In August 2012, Kim was told that she probably had only three to six months to live. At that point, she wrote about her situation on her blog on the popular internet forum, Reddit. In part, she wrote:

“I had always planned on establishing cryopreservation plans through life insurance, I was caught off guard when I was suddenly diagnosed during my last month and a half of college.”

“Many of you know that I’m agnostic; I don’t have any clue what happens when you die, but have no reason to think that my consciousness will continue on after death. The only thing that I can think to make me feel a little more at ease with my death is to secure cryopreservation plans on the off-chance that they figure out how to revive people in the future. The way I see it, it’s a better bet than decomposing or getting cremated.”

Kim started a fundraiser, eventually generating almost $7,000. The Society for Venturism took over fundraising efforts, Alcor put up a donations page, and another appeal was made at the Alcor-40 conference in October 2012. Altogether, around 200 people contributed to the funding for Kim’s cryopreservation. Alcor was able to make a special arrangement for Kim – in part based on her agreement to move to the Scottsdale area – that made it possible to take her case.

With the inevitable end in sight – and with the cancer continuing to spread throughout her brain – Kim made the brave choice to refuse food and fluids. Even so, it took around 11 days before her body stopped functioning. Around 6:00 am on Thursday January 17, 2013, Alcor was alerted that Kim had stopped breathing. Because Kim’s steadfast boyfriend and family had located Kim just a few minutes away from Alcor, Medical Response Director Aaron Drake arrived almost immediately, followed minutes later by Max More, then two well-trained Alcor volunteers. As soon as a hospice nurse had pronounced clinical death, we began our standard procedures. Stabilization, transport, surgery, and perfusion all went smoothly. A full case report will be forthcoming.

Speaking through an official announcement, Kim’s boyfriend said:

“Our hope is that technology will continue to progress to the point that Kim may have a real chance of living again in the future. Unfortunately, the development of the requisite technologies could be decades or centuries away. Since Kim is no longer with us to explore and innovate in the field of neuroscience, she is counting on all of us to push for the innovations she had hoped to see in her lifetime.

Until (or unless) the day comes that Kim can be brought back, remember her, celebrate her, and emulate her resilience, so we can create the future of her dreams.

Nobody is too young to make cryopreservation arrangements.

Anyone interested in cryonics or inspired by Kim’s story should contact Alcor for more information on the process. http://www.alcor.org/cgi-sys/cgiwrap/alcor/public/InfoRequest.cgi

In lieu of flowers, the family asks that donations to Alcor be made in Kim’s name. You can donate online at: http://www.alcor.org/donate/donate.html.”

Cryonics Magazine January 2013

The January 2013 issue of Cryonics magazine contains a detailed report of our successful 2012 Alcor-40 conference, including a summary of the presentations of all speakers. This issue also features an extensive review of chemopreservation as an alternative to cryopreservation by Cryonics magazine editor Aschwin de Wolf. Among the topics discussed are the necessity of functional assays to evaluate progress in preservation methods and the advantages and disadvantages of both methods when they are practiced under non-ideal (ischemic) conditions. This issue also reports on Alcor’s use of CT scans for detecting cryoprotectant distribution and ice formation.

Cryonics magazine is published 12 times a year and is complimentary for Alcor members. Subscription to the magazine is also available by becoming an Alcor Associate member.