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Writer Fuel: We Don’t Know How to Maintain a Frozen Brain… Yet

frozen brain - deposit photos

It’s a scene plucked from science fiction: On their deathbed, a person is completely frozen and then stashed away, so that they might be revived in the future. But could it be possible? In this excerpt from “Why We Die: The New Science of Aging and the Quest for Immortality,” (Harper Collins, 2024) Nobel Prize-winning biologist Venki Ramakrishnan examines the decades-long quest for cryonic preservation — in which people would be frozen at the point of death and defrosted in the future — and the pitfalls of an industry borne out of the idea.

Egyptians mummified their pharaohs so that they could arise corporeally at some point in the future for their journey in the afterworld. Surely now, a few millennia after the pharaohs and with more than a century of modern biology behind us, we would not do anything even remotely so superstitious. But in fact, there is a modern equivalent.

Biologists have long wanted to be able to freeze specimens so that they can store and use them later. This is not so straightforward because all living things are composed mostly of water. When this water freezes into ice and expands, it has the nasty habit of bursting open cells and tissues. This is partly why if you freeze fresh strawberries and thaw them, you wind up with goopy, unappetizing mush.

“Writer Fuel” is a series of cool real-world stories that might inspire your little writer heart. Check out our Writer Fuel page on the LimFic blog for more inspiration.

Full Story From Live Science