Keep an eye on the Meta-Analysis Project

One Alcor-funded research project that I’m personally especially interested in is the Meta-Analysis Project. This project, led by Advanced Neural Biosciences’ Aschwin de Wolf and Michael Benjamin, gathers a vast amount of data on every one of Alcor’s cryopreservations and analyzes patterns. ANB began the Alcor Meta-Analysis Project in January 2019 with the goal of developing a quantitative method to evaluate the quality of each cryopreservation case based on a thorough review of all the available case data. The project has 3 phases.

In Phase 1, researchers review and collect relevant data points from all case reports, all raw data such as temperature data and any relevant scientific papers and, for the last decade of cases, CT scans of cryopreserved patients. In phase 2, new outcome metrics have been developed to look at variables such as cryoprotectant distribution and ice formation from the analysis of Phase 1 data. The goal of Phase 3 is to identify areas where protocol and procedure upgrades would likely have the maximum impact at improving patient preservation outcomes.

Alcor and cryonics as a whole can expect to benefit from the outcomes of this work, including:

  • a complete secure database of all the important case variables gleaned from case reports, raw data, and CT scans that can be updated with new cases.
  • important information about trends and outcomes of Alcor procedures.
  • a single or set of case metrics that provide a quantitative result that measures the quality of each patient preservation
  • information about the range of typical patient scenarios, including the modelling of unusual scenarios
  • Recommendations to improve procedures, case work, and case logistics
  • A paper to be published in a scientific journal including the exposition of the cryonics case outcome metric(s) and experimental validations

You can read the initial report in the third quarter 2020 issue of Cryonics. Next report will be published in the second quarter 2021 issue.

A-3024 became Alcor’s 182nd patient in April 2021

A-3024 was a 68-year-old male with inoperable brain cancer who had neuro cryopreservation arrangements. Legal death was declared in Northern California, USA, and the stabilization team arrived seven hours later, four hours after being notified. After stabilization and field neuro cryoprotection, the patient was transported to Alcor for cryogenic cooldown.

A full case report is being prepared.

A-2705 became Alcor’s 181st patient in August 2020

A-2705 was a 67-year-old male with neuro cryopreservation arrangements who used the death with dignity laws in his state to legally terminate his life. His cause of death was kidney failure. He was pronounced legally deceased in August in the state of Washington at 17:17 hrs on T-0 days.

A field cryoprotection (FCP) was performed before the patient was transported to Alcor. Dry ice cooldown was initiated in the field at 23:49 hrs on T-0 days. Cryogenic cooldown was initiated at Alcor at 15.05 on T+1 days and terminated on T+5 at 18.33.  The patient underwent a CT scan while remaining under liquid nitrogen. At the time of writing, A-2705 is still in a small dewar with the transfer to long-term storage yet to take place.

A-2037 became Alcor’s 180th patient in July 2020

A-2037 was a 78-year-old male with neuro cryopreservation arrangements. He was found deceased in his home in Arizona. The cause of death per the death certificate was environmental heat exposure complicated by hypertensive cardiovascular disease. The length of time between cardiac arrest and pronouncement of legal death is an unknown number of days.

The member had no information such as an ID bracelet or wallet ID to let responders know that he was an Alcor member. He was sent to the state funeral home while the medical examiner searched for any family or someone to take possession of his remains. Through this process, they contacted his financial advisor, who was aware of the member’s cryopreservation arrangement and contacted Alcor’s emergency answering service to notify us at 11:07 hrs on T-0 days.

The patient was picked up from the state funeral home at approximately 14:00 hrs. The cephalic isolation took place at Alcor at approximately 15:00 hrs after the patient arrived at Alcor. Cryogenic cooldown was initiated at 15:27 hrs and terminated at 11:20 hrs on T+10 days. The patient was later transferred to long-term maintenance.

De-identification in Case Summaries

Alcor is pushing to provide a higher level of confidentiality and anonymity of members and patients who wish it. As a result:

  • Case summaries no longer identify the location of a patient more precisely than the level of country and (within the USA) state.
  • The date of a cryopreservation will no longer be given except for the month and year. Timelines will begin at <month> at T+0 days. Subsequent days will be presented as “T+x days”. Case summaries will also no longer report confidentiality status.
  • Even if a patient is non-confidential, no name will be given in case summaries. This is to make it more difficult to connect a name in the List of Patients to that Case Summary and A-number, especially if they were the only non-confidential patient that same month.

For links to full case reports, see Complete List of Alcor Cryopreservations, and Complete List of Non-Confidential Cryopreserved Alcor Patients.

Many case reports are currently in the pipeline and will be published soon. Publication was delayed while Alcor decided on the most effective and practicable way of protecting confidentiality for those who request it.

A-3360 becomes Alcor’s 178th Patient in June 2020

Alcor member A-3360 is an 87-year old male with whole body cryopreservation arrangements. He was pronounced legally deceased in June 2020 in California.

This was a third-party sign-up case with cryopreservation arrangements made at the last moment by his family who contacted Alcor shortly after legal death. Alcor’s Deployment Committee dispatched one of its strategic partners, International Cryomedicine Experts (ICE) to send one of their paramedics. Once the legal paperwork had been signed early the next morning, the ICE operative was able to retrieve the patient and manage initial cooldown and transport to Alcor on dry ice. Cryogenic cooldown was completed, and the patient was transferred to long-term storage. A debriefing was held less than two weeks later.

Member A-1404 became Alcor’s 179th Patient in June 2020

Member A-1404, a 59-year old female Alcor member with neuro cryopreservation arrangements was pronounced legally deceased in Texas in June 2020.

Alcor contacted Suspended Animation (SA) to deploy for standby. SA was on the plane with equipment loaded in less than five hours but faced unavoidable layovers and mechanical issues with the planes. In case the delays were too much, Alcor’s Readiness Coordinator promptly got on a flight with a full Field Neuro Cryoprotection Kit, carried all of it into the hospital and got set up. Fortunately, SA arrived within four hours before care was withdrawn from the patient.

SA performed a stabilization and field blood substitution. The patient was flown on ice to Alcor where a neuro separation and neuro cryoprotective procedure was performed. Alcor’s gravity-driven Field Neuro Cryoprotection system was used in place of the standard pump and mixing reservoirs to minimize the generation of aerosols at a time when COVID-19 was spreading. A debriefing was held less than two weeks later.

A-1468 became Alcor’s 177th Patient in May 2020

A-1468, a confidential, 56-year old male Alcor member with neuro cryopreservation arrangements was discovered legally deceased in his residence in May 2020. Cryogenic cooldown was initiated two days later.

A-1468 had been an Alcor member for many years. The circumstances were extremely unfortunate. This patient experienced an unattended death in his home in California, making him a Coroner’s case. Alcor received notification the morning after the member was discovered by authorities performing a wellness check at the request of family. Despite Alcor rapidly providing paperwork documenting wishes to avoid autopsy, an autopsy was performed. The patient was released to Alcor the following day.

Once Alcor received notification about the circumstances, Alcor immediately called upon International Cryomedicine Experts (ICE) to respond to the location to assist with coordination and logistics. ICE recovered the patient’s brain, which had been sectioned during autopsy, and placed the tissue on dry ice just after noon. The patient was then transported on dry ice by ICE via airline to Alcor and cryogenic cooldown was initiated at 19:52 hrs. that same day. An uneventful cooldown was terminated at 11:35 hrs two days later, and the patient was moved to long-term maintenance at liquid nitrogen temperature.

Alcor Members Speaking at the Humanity+ July 7-8 Online Summit

POST-PANDEMIC: A World Free from Disease and Destruction. That’s the title of a summit organized by Humanity Plus to be held online via the Zoom platform. Alcor members are likely to find plenty of interest here. In fact, a good portion of the speakers are Alcor members! There are three key topics or themes:

    Beyond Mortality: Preventing Negative Conditions Impacting Life
    Beyond Scarcity: Economy of Abundance
    Beyond Cruelty: Stop Discrimination, Create Compassion

Most obviously, Alcor members will immediately find relevant the first of these topics. Longer lives do not occur in a vacuum. The other topics consider some of the context we might hope for as we live longer lives. The COVID-19 pandemic seems to have provided the original impetus for this event. As the summit page says:

There is an undeniable need for new technology, science, and social efficacy to empower human dignity and to minimize the destruction of life.

Dealing with the pandemic is front page news. Yet, another never-ceasing crisis goes under the radar—all people are aging from failing systems, people are suffering from scarcity, and people are affected by the cruelty of others.

SARS-CoV-2 is a war on human biology and a wake-up call for every person on the planet. It does not discriminate on the basis of race, age, or socioeconomic status. It can affect everybody, but it kills first the oldest, the weakest, and the poorest.

This world-wide killer infection has expanded the bandwidth of news feed and online events as people are trying to understand and strategize a solution. There is no question that human civilization is now alert to its own vulnerability. Rather than continuing with such vulnerability, we need to act at the biological core. The human genome must be strengthened and protected.

Expanding on the three themes:

1. Beyond Mortality: The disease of aging leaves people helpless, locked in a system of sickness and death rather than a system of healthcare and life. We need new technology, science and social structures that promote positive conditions rather than negative conditions.
2. Beyond Scarcity: We must improve global quality of life. An economy of abundance is not about how much; it is about how good—a quality of life that provides basic human needs, freedom, and well-being, and that advances opportunity and potential.
3. Beyond Cruelty: Discrimination of people because of sex, age, race, gender, appearance, religion, beliefs, and political and social status are global, verifiable, and prevalent. What would society need to overcome misperception and cognitive bias? With an abundance of compassion, discrimination has no place or purpose.

The speakers currently confirmed are: Ben Goertzel, Max More, Natasha Vita-More, Nell Watson, Jose Cordeiro, Anders Sandberg, David Brin, Betelhem Dessie, Alishba Imran, Michael Masucci, Kat Cotter, Zoltan Istvan, Maria Entraigues-Abramson, Ryan O’Shea, David Ernst, David Wood, David Kelley, and Didier Coeurnelle.

More Information.

Register.

–Max More
Ambassador and President Emeritus, Alcor Foundation

Our Response to Covid-19

The COVID-19 pandemic has created many challenges for the practice of cryonics. Alcor remains committed to providing cryopreservation when needed. However, Alcor members should be aware of limitations during the pandemic. If you are hospitalized, cryonics personnel deployed for standby services might not be allowed to visit you inside the hospital. Electronic contact with care providers and your family will instead be relied upon for condition updates. Prompt access to begin cryonics stabilization procedures after legal death may not be possible in hospitals.

Alcor or its contractor partners will negotiate for fastest possible access to begin procedures. If you become terminally ill, home hospice care or care at a cooperating hospice facility is recommended to permit faster cryonics response than hospital care. Since the best care is possible near Alcor, Alcor will continue to financially assist terminal members with relocation to Scottsdale, Arizona.

Due to loss of service from contract surgeons during the pandemic, and due to concern about circulating large volumes of infectious fluid with potential generation of airborne droplets during mixing, Alcor will not be using its normal cryoprotectant perfusion machines during the pandemic. Alcor will instead use the procedure Field Cryoprotectant Perfusion FCP. In FCP, only the head is perfused with vitrification solution via the carotid arteries using a simplified perfusion procedure in which no fluids are recirculated. This procedure means that during the pandemic, whole body cryonics patients will be cryopreserved without receiving any chemical protection from freezing injury below the neck.

Whether FCP will be performed in the field, as its name suggests, or in Alcor’s facility will depend upon logistics and surgeon availability on a case-by-case basis. Further precautions will apply to cases known to be positive for the virus that causes COVID-19. For COVID-19 cases, initial stabilization in ice will be limited to an abbreviated list of anticoagulant and other medications circulated by several minutes of chest compressions with the head covered to prevent exhaled breath from entering the room.

These restrictions may change as personnel gain more experience doing cases with scrupulous infection control procedures, if perfusion machine design changes are made, and if normal surgical service during the pandemic can be secured. Alcor will work on all these problems at the same time that it does a comprehensive review of all infection control procedures to ensure a safe baseline of operations during a highly contagious respiratory virus pandemic. If vaccine development takes longer than expected, there will be even greater efforts to safely return to normal practices by 2021. However, these are the limitations that Alcor is currently operating under. This temporary “fall back” position is necessary for the safety and continued availability of the limited number of specialized personnel whom Alcor has available to provide cryonics care for everyone during these extraordinary times.