Chances of surviving -196°C tomb low
By Han Yoon-ji
Scientists have claimed that the likelihood of waking up from death in an icy coffin is low. Much to the dismay of diehard believers of science fiction, the hypothetical survival rate of living after being cryogenically frozen borders at 50%.
Cryonics is the preservation of humans and animals at extremely low temperatures using liquid nitrogen with the hope of one day reviving them. The idea to conserve living organisms sprang from the pages of science fiction novels in the 1960s, when Robert Ettinger, inspired by the stories he read, founded the Cryonics Institute in Michigan in 1976. The practice is being performed today in six other places for prices circling $30, 000, and more than 200 people have been frozen as of 2010.
The operation of cryonics has been popularized by the slew of futuristic films and books, such as the hit movie “Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery,” where a British secret agent has been frozen, awaiting the day his arch nemesis will return from his own deep freeze to once again threaten the world.
People have also been considering neuropreservation, which is the freezing of only the brain within the head. They believe that the brain holds the important neurons and DNA patterns that are crucial in the revival of humans and that future technology should be capable of regenerating the rest of the body from these neurons and DNA.
However, a professor from KAIST, formerly called the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology, states that “even if the brain is preserved in the best conditions, the chances of surviving after being revived are a mere 50%.”
The reasoning behind this conjecture is that even if 30% of the body's organization is successfully preserved, the brain will have lost half of its nerve cells, the DNA damaged. The liver will also be rendered useless, while there will be possibly irreparable lack of protein as well.
Despite these reservations regarding cryonics, scientists have not faltered in their journey to reach their pinnacle of futuristic operations so that people living today may, one day, see the world in a century's time.