Australian cryonics lab joins others offering to preserve bodies for future revival

The technology preserves the bodies within minutes of the heart stopping by freezing.

An Australian company claims to be the only one of its kind in the southern hemisphere offering future immortality based on cryonics! Stasis Systems Australia will start freezing bodies from 2017 in the hope that technology to revive the frozen bodies will eventually be developed.

Stasis Systems Australia is expected to charge potential customers $80,000 paid through their life insurance policy, writes ABC News. "That's the central thesis of cryonics, that we preserve the patients as best as we can, and the thawing and revival technology will be developed down the line," company secretary Matt Fisher said.

Using nitrogen to cool the bodies kept in large vacuum flasks made of steel, cryonics technology has been in use for some time to freeze and preserve bodies minutes after the heart stopped beating. While almost 250 bodies have been preserved frozen in the US since 1967, mainly by two companies, several thousands have signed up worldwide for the same when they die.

The process involves cooling the bodies of clients declared dead and replacing their blood with a medical grade anti-freeze. Unlike in the US where the choice is given to preserve whole body or just the brain and spinal cord, Stasis plans to preserve the whole body.

What is cryonics?
The ultimate aim of cryonics is to help those beyond medical aid by preserving their bodies till a time when the technology is available to revive them. It has been shown that the human body can be revived an hour after the heart, brain, and all other organs have stopped functioning under cold temperatures.

Cryonics experts see 'real death' as that event under which cell structure and chemistry become disorganized beyond any help. By freezing the bodies, they aim to prevent this death by preserving sufficient cell structure and chemistry which can later be recovered.

Clients will be those whose bodies are frozen within moments of cardiac arrest. For upto 10 minutes after cardiac arrest, the brain can be saved from dying. Blood circulation and breathing are artificially restored in this period, and the brain protected from lack of oxygen by artificially medicating and cooling it. Water in the cells is replaced with a mixture of chemicals to prevent ice formation.

Dr. James Bedford, a psych professor at the University of California, was the first person to be cryonically preserved in 1967. His body is believed to be preserved to date, awaiting technology that will bring him alive. There have been many controversial episodes around cryonics with family members disputing over the wishes of a dead person to be frozen. Basketball player Ted Williams is one, whose body has been frozen after death in 2002.

Incidentally, cryo-freezing is different from hibernation planned for long space flights and popularised in Hollywood's Interstellar. Here a drop of ten degree temperature reduces the metabolism while keeping the body in a coma-like state where it is fed intravenously.