Can a human body be brought back to life? It may be possible….
Matheryn Naovaratpong, a two-year-old from Thailand fell asleep one day last year and didn’t wake up.
The toddler was diagnosed with a rare form of brain cancer called ependymoblastoma that is commonly found in young children.
Matheryn, nicknamed Einz by her family, underwent an invasive surgery with a very limited chance of survival. When she woke – and what’s more – started responding to stimulation, her parents decided to give her a chance at life.
“We decided to fight against this cancer,” Einz’s father, Sahatorn told Vice.
Einz went through 11 more surgeries in the following year, until she had lost 80 per cent of her brain and was largely paralysed.
But instead of turning off the machines, grieving for their daughter and planning a funeral, Einz’s parents made the incredible decision to have her body frozen -in the hope that one day she will be revived, cancer free.
The process is called Cryopreservation, and we have A LOT of questions. Let’s get started.
1. What is Cryopreservation?
Cryopreservation is a process of preserving body cells, body parts or a whole body for future resuscitation.
In Einz’s case, scientists froze her body to sub-zero temperatures and transported her from Thailand to the United States for the procedure. When her body arrived in the United States, her brain was removed and is now being preserved in a room in Arizona. Her body is waiting on a cure and a means to be regrown.
2. Who performs these procedures?
The main company is called Alcor, they’re based in Arizona. They call themselves the Life Extension Foundation, while their mission is to “preserve individual lives”.
3. Can anyone be preserved?
No… not exactly. Cryopreservation is only for those who’s bodies have deteriorated past the point of being saved by medical means and where science is the only hope.
There’s also an application process, so Alcor doesn’t accept everyone who wants to be frozen, even if they have truck loads of money.
Alcor has become more and more popular with a “younger generation”, according to the company.
They are “more accustomed to seeing changes in technology,” according to Alcor.
“Any thing you can come up with, six months later, there’s an app for it. The younger generation sees this and thinks ‘sure why not’?—they can figure everything else out, so why not this? They feel this is kind of an inevitable thing,” the company state.
4. How much does it cost?
Given that this is an emerging science, it’s really expensive to do. Vice reports Cryopreservation costs between $80,000, just to preserve the brain, and $200,000 for the entire body.