Wednesday, February 17, 2016

On Our Way to the Frozen Fountain of Youth

    The idea of freezing oneself in time, only to be thawed out later without aging, has been an idea that many people have thought about in science. There is even a conspiracy theory that Walt Disney froze him self, so he could be melted out later. It's not true, he was cremated.
     Anyways, scientists however, have begun taking baby steps towards making this idea a reality. They have also gained some intel on how length of life that could be sustained while frozen, as well as the length of time.
    In November of 1983 in Antarctica, a team of scientists recovered a sample of Tardigrades from some moss. Tardigrades are eight legged, water-dwelling, micro-animals. They are also known as water bears or moss piglets. They stored these water bears at -20 degrees Celsius. Recently in May of 2014 they thawed out these samples. 
    The crazy thing is, they were eventually able to revive the water bears! They even went on to reproduce after they had been revived. It was no easy feat. Some of the revivals took up to 2 weeks. To get an idea of how successful the reproduction was, one Tardigrade laid 19 eggs. Out of those 14 hatched. That's pretty good if you ask me! This feat set a record. Beating out nematodes who had been frozen for 39 years.
    This poses some interesting questions. Like how applicable this could be to modern medicine? Or just how applicable, in general, it could be to humans? Is it ethical to freeze someone so they can thaw out years later? I don't think these are questions we will be facing soon, as the success were on much less complicated organisms than humans. I don't know the science behind it, but I feel like there's a lot more that could go wrong on the human end of being frozen for 50 years!

Sources: https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2016/02/160216104552.htm#.VsSJWFR2MhM.facebook

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tardigrade

Posted by: Nick Michienzi

12 comments:

  1. This breakthrough has a lot of potential for application. Although I don't think anyone will be freezing human bodies as a whole, as I think it'd be difficult to get through the ethics of it, it could be used for saving human organs. If we are able to have a technology or process that would allow the prolonged conservation of human organs, we would be able to save a lot more lives.

    Dasha Agoulnik

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    2. I agree with this, being able to save an organ could help greatly with transplants. Although with the recent boom in 3d printing one could argue what is the better route. The advantage to freezing your own organ would be that it is yours and you would not have to go through all the medications to keep your immune system from attacking a 3d printed organ

      reply by Nick Michienzi

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  2. I personally don't think I would want to be frozen for many years, and then defrosted, but that doesn't mean that other people wouldn't want to. I think freezing could help save people's lives that are facing a deadly disease. If we could freeze them, and take time to find a cure, we could ultimately defrost them and save their life. This is just an idea of how we could use freezing in modern medicine.

    Caitlyn Cordaro

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    2. I would not want to be frozen in time either. You would come out of your state years later to find everyone else in your life gone or aged. That is not something I would be akin to. But if you did have a terminal disease the time you spent frozen could help you survive. It's definitely a unique topic that has a niche application were it ever to be developed.

      reply by Nick Michienzi

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  3. I remember seeing these guys on an animal planet show when I was younger and thinking the exact same way about this maybe being possible with humans one day. The only reason I could think that freezing people might ever be applicable is in space travel on very long journeys but something like that would be quite a ways off if at all. Freezing body parts or organs though would be very useful and that might be something that we could see in our lifetime if it isn't already being used.

    Cole DiStasio (Group 1)

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  4. Tardigrades are some of the coolest animals ever. They can also apparently survive the vacuum of space. I hope we're able to understand some of the reasons for their extraordinary longevity.

    -Forootan Alizadehasil

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  5. The idea of freezing life in order to preserve it is entirely logical and safe, the dangerous part is thawing live tissue once it's been frozen. Once ice crystals have formed inside the body, the tissue can become damaged. Humans simply have too much water in us to be frozen safely.

    Josef Mazzuchi

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  6. The idea of freezing life in order to preserve it is entirely logical and safe, the dangerous part is thawing live tissue once it's been frozen. Once ice crystals have formed inside the body, the tissue can become damaged. Humans simply have too much water in us to be frozen safely.

    Josef Mazzuchi

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  7. Imagine how cold you would be in the process of freezing yourself.. that was my first thought after reading this anyways. after reading Joe's above comment, he makes some very reasonable statements which made me thing if you were to try freezing humans it would be such a fragile process, making sure the body doesn't freeze or thaw too fast. I feel like I remember reading something about someone being able to successfully freeze and thaw a heart and get it to start beating again.. If that was in fact true that gives me hope that we could have some medical breakthrough with freezing organs so they can be transported to further locations or last outside of the body longer... Science and research never ends, it just keeps getting more and more interesting!!!

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