Cryogenics: Is It Worth Waiting ForImagine being frozen in time to escape a deadly illness, then gettingwarmed when a cure is found. There is question on whether cryogenic methodsshould be used.
To fully understand cryogenics a knowledge of cold, backgroundinformation on some branches of cryogenics, some problems with cryopresevation,and different peoples views towards cryogenics is needed.”Cold is usually considered hostile to mankind. Most people hate cold andwith reasons.” If not careful, cold can be deadly to animal and human life, butit can also help cure, because cold bodies perform functions slower (Kavaler 16-17). Measurement of temperature is extremely important in cryogenics and thetemperatures must be exact. The standard for scientific temperature measurementis the Kelvin scale. On the Kelvin scale absolute zero has a value of zerodegrees on the thermometer.
In theory no substance can be lowered to or belowzero degrees Kelvin or absolute zero. Temperatures in cryobiology range fromzero degrees Celsius–water freezes–to just above negative two hundred andseventy three point sixteen degrees Celsius–absolute zero. The word”Cryogenics” comes from the Greek word kryos meaning cold (CryogenicsRaintree 127, Kavaler 16). The science of cryobiology was first recognized inthe early nineteen sixties. Cryobiology is the study of the effects ofextremely low temperatures on living animals and plants. The chief concern incryobiology is to preserve living matter for future use. This method can alsobe called cryopreservation. Cryotherapy is the use of extreme cold in treatment.
The first trials of cryotherapy proved with great results (CryobiologyComptons 1, McGrady 97).Frozen cells can be kept alive for very long periods of time in a stateof suspended animation. Almost immediately after rapid thawing, the frozencells regain normal activity. Cooling of the body causes a loss of feeling,therefore it can be used as anesthesia in surgery.
Since certain drugs dontaffect healthy cells at low temperatures, the drugs can be safely used againstcancerous tumors in the body. Cryogenics also helps in the preservation andstorage of human tissues. Tissues such as eye corneas, skin, and blood thatwere rapidly frozen can be stored in banks for later use. Then skin can begrafted to burn victims and eye corneas can replace damaged ones. Thanks toCryobiology blood can be frozen and stored for indefinitely for many years asopposed to only three weeks as it was before cryogenic technology was used.Surgeons can use a cryoscapel, freezing tips, to deaden or destroy tissue withgreat accuracy and little bloodshed (Cryogenics Academic 350, CryobiologyWorld Book 929). Scientists use a liquid gas called liquid nitrogen to freezeand store cells.
Some could problems also occur in cryogenics. If cells arenot frozen fast enough they will explode and die. Many biological reactions maytake place in temperatures as low as negative nine degrees Celsius. And, icecrystals, which form as temperatures as low as negative one hundred and thirtydegrees Celsius, will destroy the frozen cells (Allen 38, Cryobiology Gale1029).Following are the views of two people involved with cryogenics. Mr.Young, a biology teacher with a working knowledge of cryogenics, thinkscryobiology should be used to preserve endangered species.
He doesnt see thetechnology for freezing a whole body but maybe body organs in the near future.Mr. Young believes the money that would be needed to improve the technologycould be better spent, which is a controversy in itself.
If given a chance Mr.Young would enter his body into cryopreservation for the benefit science (Younginterview). Whereas, an America On-Line–AOL–user with an interest incryogenics feels when cryopreservation becomes a reality for an entire body, ifpeople are willing and have the money, they should enter their bodies intocryopreservation. He thinks the shock of waking up in a new age of time couldbe dangerous to ones mental health (AOL interview).Cryogenics is important because it could save and improve lifein many ways.
Cryopreservation, a branch of cryobiology, has the main purposeof preserving living matter, plant or animal, for future use. Cryogenics couldsave the planet from extinction of endangered species. Scientist could save thegametes, the sperm and the eggs, of endangered that can be fertilized and raisedwhen the environment is able to handle them. Cryopreservation should be used onhumans who want to use it.
Many people are willing to take the risk of beingsuspended or maybe even lost in time for a chance to live life again.Works CitedAllen,