Cryogenics Essay, Research Paper
Cryogenics is the science that deals with subfreezing temperatures and how they effect matter. There are several different fields of cryogenics, such as cryobiology. Cryobiologists study the effect of severe cold on living things, usually warm-blooded animals. The purpose of most of these studies is to find a way to better store cells and tissues for transplantation that is not to be done immediately. Every day hearts, livers, kidneys, and other such organs are shipped across the country to be transplanted…but there has always been one problem. Time. After a certain amount of time the tissues begin to die and are then worthless to the would-be recipient. A system of ?cryo-preservation? has been adopted in many of the major hospitals around the world. They can freeze the tissue in liquid nitrogen before it is sent off to be transplanted, and remains mostly intact. Only minor cellular damage occurs during this process. Later the tissue can be thawed and then transplanted as usual. One example of this process in use would be at ?CryoLife Ideas For Medicine’. It is located right here in Georgia, on highway 41 and Barrett parkway. CryoLife is involved primarily with cardiovascular and orthopedic tissues. They can keep tissues in deep-freeze there for weeks before transplantation, but once out of the freezer they are working against the clock to get the tissue to it?s destination. CryoLife prides itself on being able to ship tissues anywhere in the continental US, Canada, and Mexico, and have it in the operating room ready to go in under 8 hours. This is a fairly new process and is still being developed, but is in use and is very promising.
Another use of this science is cryonics, which involves the freezing of entire human bodies after death, in hopes that they will one day be able to be revived and perhaps even ?live forever?. Although this is almost completely absurd, thousands have already been signed up to be frozen after their death. Perhaps even more bizarre are those who chose to have only their heads frozen. The main reason that many scientists believe that reviving those whom have been frozen will never be possible, is the different freezing curve each different body tissue has. The freezing curve is the temperature at which a tissue can be stored without being damaged and how quickly you can bring it to that temperature. When you freeze several types of tissue at the same time, severe damage occurs. As the cell gets colder it also get harder, as the water gets colder it also expands. Water trapped in the cell upon freezing usually does 1 of 2 things. 1, if expands until the cell simply ruptures; or 2, the water crystallizes forming jagged edges which tear the cell apart. In the spring
of 1967 a man named James Benford, who had died of cancer, became the first person ever to be cryogenically frozen. The doctor who performed this amazing and controversial procedure was Robert Ettinger. Robert Ettinger became know as the ?father of cryonics? and founded 2 cryo-storage facilities in the us. There are over 5,000 people in the US that have been to be frozen, but the list of those who will be when they die holds over 17,000 names. This is also a very expensive process. To have your entire body frozen will put you out about $95,000; but if you would just like you head to be frozen, it only costs $69,000.
Strange as the concept of cryonics may seem, it may be the next step in cheating death a little longer.