The idea of frozen corpses being revived and cured of whatever disease killed them is a science which captures the imagination. Cryonics is supported by many renowned scientists who work in related fields of research, many of whom believe that the possibility of reviving those cryopreserved is a possibility. Many are confident that the actual process of cryopreservation is now exact enough to keep a body successfully frozen until a safe and viable way is found to unfreeze a body, when the disease which caused the death can be successfully cured.

Some extremely notable research scientists from the areas of cryobiology, neuroscience, biology, physical science, computing and nanotechnology have issued research papers on the viability of cryonics. It is thought that reviving a cryopreserved person is a future possibility, but no research can state what damage the whole process may cause to the body.

Preserving and storing a whole body in liquid nitrogen for years is an expensive business, but some believe that just preserving the head will be enough, as they expect technology to progress to such a level that a cloned body can be attached to the head alone.

Chopping the head off and freezing it is known as neruocryopreservation, and is much cheaper than freezing the whole body as it takes up far less space. However, the science that surrounds it is much more complicated and fraught with difficulty than that of whole body cryopreservation.

The theory behind neurocryopreservation is that the brain is the center of a person, and holds all the key data which is necessary to make an individual be themselves. The head can be frozen and the body discarded, as only the brain is strictly necessary. It raises far more problems though than simply reviving a frozen body, as a bodiless head will need a new body to hold it up.

Technologies considered are implantation of the brain, cloning, re-growth of a body, or even grafting the brain or head onto a host body. Whilst this is a popular option now, there is no guarantee these technologies will ever be established enough to make the frozen head viable.

Those who opt for the process of neurocryopreservation must sign an agreement first to acknowledge there is no guarantee how their head or brain may be used if they are ever revived. They may not like the new host body, and if only the brain rather than the whole head is eventually used, may find it traumatic to not only come to terms with a new body, but also a new head. Any heads alone will have to hang around much longer in a suspended cryonic state than whole bodies and have far less chance than a whole body of ever actually being revived.

Some cryonics centers will not deal with neurocryopreservation at all as they believe there could be a backlash if the science involved ever comes to fruition. In the meantime the image of preserving severed heads may give the centers a rather futuristic horror image. However, other centres for cryonics have numbers of heads already cryopreserved. It is unlikely that anyone reading this will still be alive to see if the science of nerurocryopreservation can ever be a reality.

Encyclopedia of death & the human experience

The cryoncis institute