[LINK] Cryonics—without even trying

(Ti­tle is tongue-in-cheek, “preser­va­tion” would’ve been more ap­pro­pri­ate but less catchy)

With [news like that](http://​​news.dis­cov­ery.com/​​his­tory/​​pre­served-brain-bog-england-110406.html), how hard can it be when you ac­tu­ally do want to pre­serve a brain:

> A hu­man skull dated to about 2,684 years ago with an “ex­cep­tion­ally pre­served” hu­man brain still in­side of it was re­cently dis­cov­ered in a wa­ter­logged U.K. pit, ac­cord­ing to a new Jour­nal of Ar­chae­olog­i­cal Science study.

> The brain is the old­est known in­tact hu­man brain from Europe and Asia, ac­cord­ing to the au­thors, who also be­lieve it’s one of the best-pre­served an­cient brains in the world. (...) Scien­tists be­lieve that sub­mer­sion in liquid, anoxic en­vi­ron­ments helps to pre­serve hu­man brain tis­sue.

Un­for­tu­nately for the poor guy /​ brain, we kil­led his sur­vival prospects. He did go with the cheap op­tion of just sav­ing the head. Spec­u­lat­ing, if he got found an­other few cen­turies from now, he might’ve been a pa­tient, not “arche­olog­i­cal re­mains”.

On a more se­ri­ous note, I’d like the per­spec­tive of some­one signed up for cry­on­ics on this:

With peo­ple signed up for cry­on­ics nowa­days—I hear it even comes with a neck­lace! - I won­der what role the sig­nal­ling as­pect (to oth­ers, more im­por­tantly to one­self, feel­ing safer from death) plays ver­sus the ac­tual per­ma­nent-death-evad­ing.

Hav­ing been pre­sent for (mouse) brain slice ex­per­i­ments done im­me­di­ately af­ter ex­trac­tion, be­ing con­fronted with the rapidly pro­gress­ing tis­sue de­cay, the most im­por­tant as­pect that could eas­ily be op­ti­mised—apart from re­search into other meth­ods of preser­va­tion—was the time from the ex­trac­tion to the ex­per­i­ments. Each minute made a tremen­dous differ­ence. Not a sur­prise: as the apho­rism in neu­rol­ogy (stroke ther­apy) goes, “time is brain”.

What leads me to some­what doubt the se­ri­ous­ness of the ac­tual be­lief in brain preser­va­tion, ver­sus the be­lief in be­lief that’s based on min­imis­ing ex­is­ten­tial angst, is that the ob­vi­ous idea of “when death is ap­proach­ing with an ETA of less than X, com­mit suicide with cry­on­ics on im­me­di­ate standby” is not an in­te­gral part of the dis­cus­sion. X may be weeks, or even years, based on how se­ri­ous you take cry­on­ics.

The above in­ci­den­tally con­tains a way of bet­ting to in­di­cate the strength you as­sign to the ac­tual prospects of cry­on­ics, ver­sus the role it plays for you psy­cholog­i­cally. Isn’t bet­ting on your be­liefs en­couraged in this com­mu­nity? (NB: the “suicide” is just in­cluded to avoid le­gal ram­ifi­ca­tions.)

Re­gard­less of fu­ture tech­nolog­i­cal ad­vances, or­ders of mag­ni­tude less brain dam­age will cer­tainly pose less of a prob­lem than the de­lay caused even by a cou­ple of hours. A cou­ple of hours = your brain tis­sue is already a scorched bat­tlefield! Both necro­sis and apop­to­sis get started within min­utes.

Mea­sur­ing your ac­tual be­lief in the suc­cess of cry­on­ics (for some­one signed up for cry­on­ics), wait­ing for death by nat­u­ral causes doesn’t in­di­cate a lot of con­fi­dence when even a few weeks of life seem to be mea­sured more highly than a tremen­dous in­crease in the ac­tual prospects of cry­on­ics work­ing.

Or do you have above men­tioned plans in place for when your life ex­pec­tancy is less than X months/​years (for what­ever rea­son)?