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Brain Preservation Breakthrough

Updated 13 March 2018
Giulio Prisco

Brain Preservation and Dispersion

The announcement from the Brain Preservation Foundation (BPF) that the Large Mammal Brain Preservation Prize has been won (see below) is nothing short of awesome, if one takes the time to understand why.

The winning research team has demonstrated that a technique known as Aldehyde-Stabilized Cryopreservation (ASC) permits long term preservation of the full connectome -- the trillions of synaptic connections -- of a pig brain, comparable to a human brain in size, with very high quality equivalent to that used in state-of-the-art connectome research.

An ASC-preserved brain is expected to retain most of its molecular-level information. If so, future technology may permit scanning an ASC-preserved brain for brain emulation or mind uploading.

“A growing number of scientists and technologists believe that future technology may be capable of scanning a preserved brain’s connectome and using it as the basis for constructing a whole brain emulation, thereby uploading that person’s mind into a computer controlling a robotic, virtual, or synthetic body,” notes the BPF announcement. “The Brain Preservation Prize challenged the scientific community to develop a ‘bridge’ to that future mind uploading technology.”

In other words, an ASC-preserved brain could be held in cold storage for centuries, until future technology is available to scan the brain with sufficient resolution, decode the substrate of memories, thoughts, feelings, hopes, fears, and personality encoded in the brain, and bring a deceased person back to life in a new artificial body. That sounds like science fiction, but science fiction that could become science fact.

ASC can be seen as next-generation cryonics, but also as an alternative form of cryonics. In fact, ASC preservation is not meant for future biological revival of the original organic body, but for future cybernetic revival. Therefore, as BPF President Ken Hayworth explains in a video presentation, ASC is “cryonics for uploaders.”

“I believe it is the responsibility of the scientific and medical community to develop ASC into a reliable medical procedure as soon as possible,” said Hayworth. At the same time, he is persuaded that the right strategy is not to rush, and take the time and all necessary steps to develop ASC as a quality-controlled clinical procedure (before death) within the mainstream medical system.

The final Brain Preservation Prize has been won. The Brain Preservation Foundation (BPF) is announcing that the final phase of the Brain Preservation Prize, the Large Mammal Brain Preservation Prize, has been won by the cryobiology research company 21st Century Medicine (21CM) and lead researcher Robert McIntyre. The same researchers won the preliminary Small Mammal Brain Preservation Prize two years ago. The procedure used, known as Aldehyde-Stabilized Cryopreservation (ASC) and described in a 2015 study published in Cryobiology, consists of perfusing the brain with glutaraldehyde and cryoprotectant prior to cryogenic storage. According to the BPF, the researchers have demonstrated a way to preserve a brain’s connectome for centuries-long storage.

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