May 16, 2008

Preserving the dead in warm biostasis

Aschwin de Wolf is speculating about warm biostasis through nanotechnology over at Depressed Metabolism. This is a fantastic idea that makes a lot of sense.

In his article, de Wolf writes:

Such a form of warm biostasis would not only produce a true molecular alternative to cryonics, it would also enable long-duration space travel and could be employed as a means to provide trauma care in emergency situations. These kind of applications of molecular nanotechnology are extremely advanced and, as a result, literature, either fiction or non-fiction, about them is virtually non-existent. It seems that the first rigorous treatment of cellular and whole-body warm biostasis will be published in Robert Freitas’ Nanomedicine Volume IIB and Nanomedicine Volume III (personal correspondence).

Perhaps the future of biostasis will be an advanced form of chemical fixation after all.

This possibility is also being discussed at Longevity Meme: "What if cryonics wasn't cold?"
The purpose of cryonics is to preserve the body and brain with as little small-scale damage as possible for revival via plausible future technologies, most likely medical nanomachinery. To save lives, in other words. Depressed Metabolism has previously argued that it's something of an accident of history that the cryonics industry uses cold-based preservation rather than a form of warm chemical preservation, and here elaborates on future molecular nanotechnologies that may achieve warm biostasis: "To see how one approach would work, imagine that the blood stream carries simple molecular devices to tissues, where they enter the cells. There they block the molecular machinery of metabolism - in the brain and elsewhere - and tie structures together with stabilizing cross-links. Other molecular devices then move in, displacing water and packing themselves solidly around the molecules of the cell. These steps stop metabolism and preserve cell structures."
This is definitely an area to watch.

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