This company is trying to keep an 80-year-old dead Australian man alive. Here's how - Hindustan Times
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This company is trying to keep an 80-year-old dead Australian man alive. Here's how

May 30, 2024 04:42 PM IST

An 80-year old Australian man is cryogenically frozen by Southern Cryonics in a process costing over $170,000.

Southern Cryonics, an Australian company successfully froze its first client, a Sydney man in his 80s who died earlier this month. This is the first known cryogenic preservation in the Southern Hemisphere, as reported by the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC).

Cryonics is the practice of deep-freezing corpses of those who have died of an incurable disease until a future medical technology restores them to full health
Cryonics is the practice of deep-freezing corpses of those who have died of an incurable disease until a future medical technology restores them to full health

The man, known as Patient One was cryogenically preserved at -196°C at the company's Holbrook facility, with the hope that future medical advancements might one day revive him.

Philip Rhoades of Southern Cryonics, who has dedicated 14 years to preparing for this moment, described the process to ABC as both "very stressful" and groundbreaking.

Following the man's death on May 12, 2024, the body was cooled to around 6 degrees Celsius before being perfused the body with a cryoprotectant (an anti-freeze solution), to preserve cellular integrity. It was then transported to Southern Cryonics' facility after being packed in dry ice, lowering the temperature to about minus 80 degree Celsius.

In the final stage, the body was cooled to minus 200 degrees Celsius in a controlled chamber, and placed in a dewar tank (a specialised vacuum storage vessel similar to a giant thermos) for long-term storage.

The entire process costed the client over 170,000 AUD (Rs.93.67 lakh). Despite this, cryonics remains controversial and speculative.

The fundamental flaw of cryonics is the idea you could bring people back from the dead, said Professor Gary Bryant, an associate dean in physics who researches cryobiology at RMIT University to the Sydney Morning Herald.

“That’s really the reason why it can never happen. As soon as you are dead, your brain and organs are deprived of oxygen and the individual cells begin to die,” he said.

The chemicals currently used, glycerol and dimethyl sulfoxide (DMSO) in the cryoprotectant are toxic and can destroy the body’s internals, he said

Professor Bruce Thompson, head of the Melbourne School of Health Science, also expressed skepticism for the process given the current scientific capabilities.

"Doing that for a whole human body — and it died for a reason at the end of the day — and then reversing that and then reviving that is a very, very long time away," Thompson said

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