World: A 49 year old woman in China has been cryogenically preserved following her death, and there is a possibility that she can be revived in the future.
Cryonics is the practice of deep-freezing recently deceased bodies (or even just the brains of those who have recently died) in the hopes of reviving them when technology catches up.
In physics, cryogenics is the study of the production and behavior of materials at very low temperatures.
It is not well-defined at what point on the temperature scale refrigeration ends and cryogenics begins, but scientists assume a gas to be cryogenic if it can be liquefied at or below −150 °C (123.15 K; −238.00 °F). The U.S. National Institute of Standards and Technology has chosen to consider the field of cryogenics as that involving temperatures below −180 °C (93.15 K; −292.00 °F). This is a logical dividing line, since the normal boiling points of the so-called permanent gases (such as helium, hydrogen, neon, nitrogen, oxygen, and normal air) lie below −180 °C while the Freon refrigerants, hydrogen sulfide, and other common refrigerants have boiling points above −180 °C.
Recently, for the first time ever in China, a woman has been cryogenically frozen. Zhan Wenlian died at the age of 49 from lung cancer and her husband, Gui Junmin, “volunteered” her for the cryonic procedure.
Both he and his late wife wanted to donate her body to science to “give back to society.” According to The Mirror.
Ms Wenlian’s remains are currently resting in a tank filled with 2,000 litres of liquid nitrogen at Yinfeng Biological Group in Jinan, capital of East China’s Shandong Province.
This project is the combined effort of the Yinfeng Biological Group, Qilu Hospital Shandong University and consultants from Alcor Life Extension Foundation, a nonprofit cryonics company based in the United States.
Cryonic freezing is actually very specifically trying to avoid ice crystal formation — which damages the cells of the body’s tissues. Rapid cooling, rather than freezing, is a more accurate description of the process. A chemical cocktail of preservatives like glycerol and propandiol, in addition to antifreeze agents, are commonly used to get the body into a stable state where it won’t be decaying, but also won’t suffer damage from being stored at low temperatures for, conceivably, a very long time.
The aim of cryonic preservation would be to one day be able to thaw the bodies and reanimate them at a cellular level.
However, there is no evidence that people will one day be able to be revived.
Director Jia Chusheng of Yinfeng Biological Group said that although there is a chance the procedure will not work, it gives the husband and wife hope for the future.
She said: [Zhan] and her family are clear about the risks and the possibility that the procedure might ultimately fail.
“But as someone who has donated her body to science, she also gains hope of being revived one day.”
Her husband is extremely hopeful, however, and even plans to have himself preserved when he dies so that he can be reunited with his wife.
Mr Junmin said: “I tend to believe in new and emerging technologies, so I think it will be completely possible to revive her.
“If my wife wakes up, she might be lonely. I need to keep her company.”