So many people spotted this story and passed it along to me that it vaulted right to the top of this week's blogs. But first, a little advisory, and then a caveat, and then we'll plunge in. The advisory is this: it's the week of the Thanksgiving holiday here in the USA, and as it's one of my favorite holidays, if not my favorite, I intend to spend it, thankfully. That means there will be no blogs this Thursday and Friday, and it will be a short week for blogs. That said, the fact that this story leads off this shortened week is perhaps a testament to its importance. Many thanks to all of you who saw and shared this story.
But there's a caveat here. As of this writing, the only source reporting this story is Zero Hedge, based on an article in the tabloid The Daily Star, so take it for what it's worth. In any case, for the purposes of our daily high octane speculation, we assume it to be true for the sake of argument, or, in this case, questions and implications.
Apparently, a successful freezing and re-animation or thawing of a human being has been successfully performed, but under some mightily unusual circumstances:
What's interesting here is that the procedure allegedly used was different from the standard "freezing" that one normally associates with such "processes":
But now, it looks like doctors have made progress with actually freezing and reviving human beings. Samuel Tisherman, a professor at the University of Maryland School of Medicine, has led a team that has actually put a human being into suspended animation, according to the Daily Star.
Tisherman told New Scientist that he replaced a human's blood with ice-cold saline solution. He called the whole ordeal "a little surreal". The patient was then removed from the cooling system and taken to an operating theater for a two hour surgical procedure before having their blood restored and their body warmed back up to its normal temperature.
Tisherman says he's going to be producing a full account of the procedure in a new scientific paper that will be released in 2020. He aims to pause life long enough to perform emergency surgery, rather than use the technology for space travel. (Boldface emphasis in the original, italicized emphasis added)
Now, before we get to my "high octane questions and implications," it is to be noted that the idea of cryogenic suspension and thawing is not new. The basic problem has been - thus far anyway - that freezing organic tissue tends to do irreparable damage to cells, for as the water of cells freezes, it expands, and breaks the fragile membranes of cells. Think of that beer you stuck in the freezer to cool it down quickly, but which you forgot about and then, a day or two later, remembered. The beer has now burst the can (or bottle). Various techniques have been tried and proposed as a way around this problem, and there has been some success at least in freezing parts of mammals and "reviving" them (see https://www.digitaltrends.com/cool-tech/frozen-brain-cryogenics/ and also https://www.newsweek.com/rabbit-brain-first-mammal-brain-return-successfully-cryopreservation-424913)
In the alleged procedure in which a human was frozen and then reanimated, notably the individual's blood was entirely removed, and "replaced" with an "ice-cold saline solution." Beyond this, there's not much more by way of detail other than the promise that the physician involved, Samuel Tisherman, will deliver a paper in 2020 telling everyone "how he did it." So we're left to speculate. Perhaps by using an "ice-cold saline solution" the problem of cellular damage was somehow avoided, since the freezing process took place "from the inside out" as it were, rather than from the "outside in". But there's another problem; beyond being told that an "ice-cold saline solution" was used, were left wondering what the temperature of the individual's body actually was. Was it actually frozen? Or simply cooled down to far below normal temperature, but above freezing? That would make some sense, if one wanted to avoid the typical cellular damage that actual freezing involves. If so, then it would be an indicator, perhaps, that scientists pursuing the cryogenic freezing angle have been on the wrong track; suspended animation might not involve actual freezing, but simply dramatic cooling without freezing.
But as I say, we're guessing on the basis of some pretty threadbare data, assuming once again that the story is true.
However, that's not what intrigued me about this article. What intrigued me was the implications and questions posed by the final statement in the above quotation from the article: "He (Dr. Tisherman) aims to pause life long enough to perform emergency surgery... ." (Emphasis added) This brings us to that odd question that anethesiologists often ponder: What happens to the human consciousness during surgery? Where does it go? There have been a multitude of reports of clinical death cases where individuals for all intents and purposes are physically, biologically dead, and who, for whatever inscrutable reason, come back, and then proceed to astonish doctors and nurses with exact accounts of their conversations in the operating theater, and other very bizarre stuff. They seem unusually well-informed about their spatio-temporal circumstances, and even their "deaths."
But anesthesia and clinical deaths are one thing, freezing and "pausing" life are quite another. So what - if anything - did this individual experience, think, and feel during that period that his or her life was "paused"? And beyond that, did the procedure result in any behavioral modifications?
It's questions like that which make me strongly suspect that there is much more to this story (if true) than meets the eye, and that - as the article alleges - the government's permission was sought and obtained to do the procedure because there was no other way to save the individual's life. It's that government involvement that has me wondering. After all, this government is hardly chalking up points for its concern about the sanctity human life. It's that anti-humanity-and-government angle that have me wondering if perhaps the procedure was coupled to an experiment to find out what, if anything, happens to the consciousness of such an individual whose life has been "paused." "What did you see? Did you hear anything? Feel anything?" And more importantly, will this individual, over time, show unusual changes in behavior, or experience a sudden expansion of "talents" such as clairaudience or clairvoyance, and so on.
You can bet that someone, somewhere, involved with all of this is thinking precisely the same thing, and that this individual will be monitored quite closely.
See you on the flip side...