Life after death: Russians pay millions for a miraculous resurrection

Life after death: Russians pay millions for a miraculous resurrection
Life after death: Russians pay millions for a miraculous resurrection
16 June 2021, 14:22Science
In the Leninsky court of Orenburg, for the first time in history, a decision was made on cryonics - the posthumous freezing of a person or parts of his body. The court upheld a company providing such services.

As it became known to Novye Izvestia, a working group is now being created to pass a law on posthumous freezing in the State Duma.

Irina Mishina

Preparing the Kriorus client for cryopreservation. Material provided by the Russian Bar Association "For Human Rights".

From the point of view of the layman, this whole story is a cross between a horror film and science fiction. Although it is based on a family conflict.

A resident of Orenburg, Igor D., signed an agreement for 1 million 200 thousand rubles with the Kriorus company on posthumous cryopreservation, that is, freezing the brain of one of his family members - the one who dies first. The goal is to transplant the deceased's brain into a biorobot many years later, when science learns to do this. Thus, the life of the deceased will continue to some extent. The lot fell on the man's mother. But as soon as he decided to subject his mother's corpse to this unusual procedure, relatives revolted. The case ended very badly: Igor D. ended up in a psychiatric hospital, and his relatives filed a lawsuit against the Kriorus company, which was going to posthumously freeze the brains of family members. It is possible that mercantile considerations also played a role: in the case of cryopreservation of the brain of the deceased, his inheritance could not go to anyone. However, all the details of this confusing family history are unknown to us.

Transportation of Kriorus LLC clients.

All this could be considered a single strange case, if not for the information on the website of the company "Kriorus".

“We have been working since 2003, today about 500 people have signed contracts with us for cryonics. The number of our preserved cryopatients is 80. Animals - 45. We are trusted by not only Russians, but also cryonics supporters from many countries. Cryonics is a technology of keeping dead people and animals in a state of deep cooling in the hope that in the future they will be able to revive, and, if necessary, cure and rejuvenate them. The procedure is experimental. No one guarantees life after death to cryopatients. Nevertheless, cryopreservation is gaining popularity in Russia and the world”, - the company's website says.

Cryonicists believe that until the body of a deceased person begins to decay, it can be immersed in suspended animation, and after years, science may find a way to revive it. In this case, it will be possible to revive not only the body, but also the personality, including consciousness. To do this, it will be necessary to make those parts of the deceased's brain work again, which are responsible for long-term memory, and some of its fragments can be replaced with electronic chips. Various methods of cryopreservation of people are now available: neuropreservation (storage of the head or brain), cryopreservation (storage of the body), as well as storage of DNA and tissues. People who choose neuroconservation expect that in the future a new body will be grown for the cryopatient from stem cells or artificially.

Cryostorage. Photos taken from open sources.

“A lot of people just want to run away from the present and into the future. In the future, technologies will allow a person to unfreeze, reanimate, and heal. From the point of view of 2021, the death criterion is a statement of brain death. From the point of view of the technologies of the future, the criterion of death may become completely different”, - says Valeriya Udalova, General Director of Kriorus LLC.

How does the freezing of a potential "man of the future" take place? This, as it turned out, is the whole story. “We conclude an agreement with our client. Then a deceased person is brought to us with a death certificate. It can be a recently deceased person, a 3-5 day old corpse. Then the deceased is perfused - blood is removed, replaced with cryoprotectants. We seem to stop the moment. How it will subsequently be possible to breathe life into the cryopatient or his brain is a question for the future. We are a research organization, we are in contact with the Institute of Cell Biology, research is underway. Our organization does not have a license. Everyone assesses the risks himself, we familiarize patients with them, we even draw a tree of risks”, - said Valeria Udalova, General Director of Kriorus LLC.

Yes, there are more than enough risks. What if, for example, the technologies of the future never learn to resurrect frozen corpses? And how can this corpse be resurrected when the brain is dead? But my interlocutors from "Kriorus" LLC and from the Association of Lawyers of Russia for Human Rights confidently convinced me that someday people will come up with something. Up to the point that a biorobot will be created, into which a frozen brain can be implanted, and thus the person will continue life after death. But so far the state does not want to subsidize the science of cryonics: Cryorus LLC has no budgetary funding. But a way out in the future will certainly be found, supporters of cryonics believe. True, the money must be paid right now. The cost of preserving the body in Russia is about 2.8 million rubles, the brain - 1.1 million rubles, DNA - 66,000 rubles. Cryopreservation of a small cat in Moscow will cost 760,000 rubles, for a large dog - 2.7 million rubles. For this money, special procedures will be carried out with the body of the deceased. After that, the body will be immersed in a special storage with a low-temperature environment, where all chemical reactions are practically stopped. In such conditions, the body can lie for tens of years without any changes. Cryogenic companies have their own premises for storing the bodies of people and animals.

The payment for the revitalization procedure is not included in the price, as this technology has not yet been developed. Cryonicists talk about this openly: they assume that the costs of creating or "repairing" the patient's body in the future can be borne by society, the state or descendants...

However, it is not entirely clear what to do with the "animated" deceased. If such a miracle happens, how his descendants will treat the living corpse, whether they want to settle it at their place is an open question ...

But supporters of cryonics are not discouraged and stubbornly defend their rights. “The draft law on cryonics was submitted to the State Duma in December 2020. But first, it was decided to create a working group. It is, in fact, about the protection of human rights. We want to promote the basic human right - his right to life, in particular, to preserve his life through cryopreservation. Now the working group is working on the wording of the bill, ”Yulia Arkhipova, a leading specialist of the Russian Bar Association“ For Human Rights”, - told Novye Izvestia.

By the way, cryonics is allowed only in the USA, China and Russia. Moreover, in China, it is financed from the state budget and supported by the Communist Party. Companies that are engaged in cryopreservation in Russia have the status of research organizations. The procedure itself is still considered experimental.

We decided to ask scientists about the prospects for cryonics. Someone avoided answering, someone simply laughed at the question, but there were also quite serious arguments. “From the point of view of science, today it cannot be argued that cryonics and the“ revival ”of dead people is possible. But from the point of view of scientific progress - yes, it can happen. True, no one gives guarantees here. But even now, cryopreservation of embryos or eggs is a reality. There is a successful experience of transplanting fragments of cryopreserved ovaries to women after cancer treatment: they were removed for the period of chemotherapy, and then transplanted again. That is, there are certain successes at the level of experiments. This allows you to believe in the future”, - said Igor Artyukhov, a biophysicist, a leading expert of the Institute of Biology of Aging LLC, to Novye Izvestia.

Films have been made and books written about whether there is life after death. But no one has yet proven anything concrete on this score. At the same time, the beginning of the escape of people from reality makes us think about many things.

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