Alcor News

Alcor News

News Blog of the Alcor Life Extension Foundation

Official Alcor Statement Concerning Marvin Minsky

The legal death of Marvin Minsky was publicly reported on Monday, January 25, 2016. There has been speculation on the part of numerous individuals and publications that he may have been cryopreserved by Alcor. This notice is Alcor’s formal response to inquiries on this issue.

In a public ceremony at the Extro-3 conference in 1997, nanotechnology pioneer Eric Drexler presented Prof. Minsky with a bracelet given to all new Alcor members. This bracelet provides emergency contact information and basic instructions. Minsky has spoken publicy many times about his advocacy of overcoming aging and the inevitability of death and about cryonics (human cryopreservation) as a last resort. He was also among the 67 signatories of the Scientists Open Letter on Cryonics and a member of Alcor’s Scientific Advisory Board. This much is public knowledge. None of this necessarily means that Prof. Minsky had cryopreservation arrangements at the time of legal death. Alcor neither confirms nor denies whether Prof. Minsky had such arrangements.

Alcor’s official response may puzzle some readers, so we would like to point out the privacy options that have been and currently are available to our members. When a member signs up for cryopreservation by Alcor, they have four options:

1. They can give Alcor permission to freely release their information at its discretion.
2. They can give Alcor permission to release their name and number only to other Alcor Members.
3. They can instruct Alcor to maintain reasonable confidentiality pursuant to the provisions of Attachment I. After their cryopreservation, Alcor is authorized to freely release their information at its discretion, including information Alcor deems appropriate about the individual’s cryopreservation.
4. They can instruct Alcor to maintain reasonable confidentiality pursuant to the provisions of Attachment I.

These options can be found in Attachment 1 here:

Therefore, if Alcor says that we can neither confirm nor deny that a specific person has cryonics arrangements with our organization, that could mean that (a) they do not have such arrangements (even if they had them in the past), or (b) that the individual has chosen the second or fourth options.

A-1497, Ronald Selkovitch, Patient 141


Ronald Selkovitch, A-1497, became an Alcor member back in 1995. During that time, he saw not only his mother be cryopreserved, but also his wife just three months prior. Now aged 81, Mr Selkovitch was suffering from an infection that occurred following an abdominal surgery and eventually became critically ill at a hospital in Escondido, CA. Since Alcor was returning from Philadelphia with their preceding patient, Suspended Animation (SA) was requested to start a standby. Less than 48 hours following deployment, Mr Selkovitch was pronounced at 05:02 on August 28, 2015, allowing the team to protect the patient’s cells during ischemia and cooling. Following this stabilization, a field washout was undertaken, and Mr Selkovitch was cooled while driven from California to Scottsdale by the SA team, where they handed over responsibility to Alcor.

He was stabilized and transported to Alcor Life Extension Foundation (Alcor) by ground transport, arriving at 15:25. Surgery, cephalon isolation, cooling and vitrification were performed by Alcor’s team, with cryoprotective perfusion completed at 21:21, followed immediately by cool down to liquid nitrogen temperature: -196˚C/-320 ˚F.

Neuro cryoprotective surgery continued at Alcor before profound cooling commenced. Mr Selkovitch (A-1497) became Alcor’s 141st patient on August 28th, 2015. On September 7, 2015 a CT scan was performed of Mr Selkovitch’s cephalon to assess his post-vitrification status and condition. The results will be linked to the report on the Alcor website when that is published in the near future.

Mr Selkovitch is a counter-example to the common fear that (assuming the process works for you), that you will be alone in the future. We can hold out reasonable hope that he will eventually be restored to active life at the same time as his wife and mother.

A-1624, James Baglivo, Patient 140

James Baglivo, winner of the Omni cryonics essay contest, becomes Alcor’s 140th patient.

James Baglivo, A-1624, was pronounced legally dead by today’s standards on August 25, 2015 at the age of 44, in New Jersey, USA. Baglivo, a neurocryopreservation member, became Alcor’s 140th patient.

Back in the early 1990s, Charles Platt birthed an idea and saw it through to completion: An “Immortality Prize” hosted by Omni Magazine, the winner of which would receive a cryopreservation free of charge. Some of us quite fondly remember Omni as a science and science fiction magazine published in print form from 1978 to 1995, founded by Kathy Keeton and her collaborator and future husband Bob Guccione, the publisher of Penthouse magazine. Even when it was shut down by Guccione in early 1996 following the death of Keeton, the magazine’s reported print run was still over 700,000 copies per month. Offering a free cryopreservation as the prize for winning an essay contest apparently generated an unprecedented degree of exposure for cryonics and for Alcor.

James Baglivo was the winner of the Omni Magazine Immortality Prize. It took Mr Baglivo some time to complete his arrangements, his membership being finalized on January 18, 1996. His winning of the Prize turned out to be very fortunate for him. Mr Baglivo was involved in a major auto accident leading to hospitalization in 1991 and he carried the burden of a family history of diabetes and heart disease. At the time of the contest, he was only 22 years old. His essay won him a $120,00 life insurance policy that Alcor purchased on his behalf to pay the costs of cryopreservation when the time came. He also remained a member even though he had never responded to any notices or requests or communications of any kind in ten years. That lack of communication made responding effectively and speedily considerably more difficult.

On August 25, 2015, Alcor received an emergency notification from a nurse with an organ procurement company in New Jersey when she noticed that her deceased patient was wearing an Alcor medical alert bracelet. She told us he had died from sudden cardiac arrest about three hours prior earlier. We later learned that he had suffered three cardiac arrests: The first around 5:00 pm (Arizona time), the second around 10:00 pm in a New Jersey hospital where he was placed on a ventilator, and the third at 2:55 am immediately after removal from ventilator, at which point he was pronounced. Alcor was notified at 5:03 am through our emergency alert service.

Mr Baglivo’s mother also called and said that, because of her son’s young age of 44, the Medical Examiner was planning on performing an autopsy the next morning. Alcor immediately reached out to the ME’s office and strongly urged them to not abrogate this individual’s civil rights and instead consider waiving their authority to perform a destructive autopsy, in light of his written health directives with respect to disposition of his own remains.

After reviewing the documents and medical history that Alcor sent, coupled with the diagnostic imaging and blood draws that were obtained at the hospital, the ME’s office decided to forego the procedure and release the patient to Alcor. A local mortuary was found that would remove the patient from the morgue’s cooler, pack it in ice and allow us to use their prep room when we arrived later that same night.

Although initial success had been achieved in stopping the invasive autopsy, time was the driving factor in the decision-making process. There was insufficient time to retrieve the physical entirety of Baglivo and bring him to Alcor for a whole body cryoprotection. As it was, our options were limited to a straight freeze (with attendant massive damage from ice crystals) or a field neuro cryoprotection and transport on dry ice. I (Max More) decided to authorize a field cryoprotection. This enables us to cryoprotect the brain with minimal delay even when an operating room is not available.

The move from whole-body with no cryoprotection (and a long delay) to neurocryopreservation with field cryoprotection (and a much faster timeline) also enabled us to pay for an air ambulance. This was arranged by Aaron Drake, Alcor’s Medical Response Director, who was accompanied by Steve Graber, Alcor’s Technical and Readiness Coordinator, on the trip to Philadelphia with the surgical and perfusion supplies. Through the night, Drake performed the surgery and cannulation while Graber ran the portable pump-powered perfusion equipment and reached target concentration through a 15 step cryoprotection ramp. The team then used dry ice to provide rapid cooling in Alcor’s specially designed Neuro Shipper container.

The cooling continued during transportation the team returned with the same flight crew who were returning to Phoenix. More aggressive cooling commenced upon arrival at Alcor. A-1624 became Alcor’s 140th patient on August 25th, 2015.

A full case report will follow.

Northern California Alcor Meeting

WHAT: Northern California Alcor Meeting

WHERE: The Clubhouse at 505 Cypress Point Dr., Mountain View

WHEN: January 17th at 4:00 p.m.

I should also point out to people who have not been here, that “505 Cypress Point Dr” refers to the main clubhouse of the condominium complex located at the last address. Meaning, if you see something like “505 Cypress Point Dr, 123-456” that is not it. You should look for the sign that says “505 Cypress Point Dr” ONLY , and that sign is at Cypress Point Dr, but not exactly at the location that the navigation systems point to (they tend to point to the central point of the complex). At that sign, is the clubhouse.

We have potluck food, so bring some. We also have a sauna, whirlpool, billiards and ping-pong if you feel so inclined.