What Evidence-Based Cryonics Means
Evidence-Based Cryonics means to investigate and publish the efficacy of cryonics procedures using contemporary scientific and medical technologies. If injury to the patient can be eliminated throughout all parts of cryonics procedures, technical reasons for not offering cryonics as a means to stabilize critically ill patients will loose credibility.
Human cryopreservation consists of a number of distinct procedures which can be investigated and improved through conventional scientific research. Examples of cryonics procedures that can be investigated with conventional techniques include cardiopulmonary support, induction of hypothermia, neuroprotection, blood substitution and cryopreservation. For reversible parts of cryonics this means being able to reverse them and obtain survival or evidence of viability. For presently irreversible parts of the procedure this means to get as much feedback as possible, for instance by doing electron micrographs and looking for other markers of preservation and injury.
An important element of evidence-based cryonics is the awareness that findings from mainstream research and conventional medicine may need further investigation in a realistic cryonics context. Most contemporary cryonics technologies are based on animal studies and literature reviews but are rarely validated in models that reflect the fact that the typical cryonics patient suffers from age related pathologies, long agonal periods, and post-arrest ischemia. Examples of contemporary cryonics technologies that warrant stronger validation in models that reflect the typical pathophysiologies of cryonics patients include cardiopulmonary support, neuroprotective medications, hypothermic organ preservation solutions and vitrification agents.
Another important element of Evidence-Based Cryonics is a strong emphasis on detailed case reporting and analysis. Patients should be monitored through all parts of cryonics procedures. Meticulous data acquisition during cryonics cases and meta-analysis of case reports should be used to generate a general clinical theory of human cryopreservation.
The concept of evidence-based cryonics is basically a restatement of the research driven approach to cryonics that was pioneered by cryonics researchers Jerry Leaf and Michael Darwin in the late 1970s and 1980s. Since then new research models and monitoring techniques have become available that enables cryonics organizations and researchers to investigate the effects of various cryonics procedures in realistic conditions.
What Evidence Based Cryonics Does Not Mean
Evidence-Based Cryonics does not mean that cryonics should not be considered as a worthwhile form of long term care until reversible cryopreservation of humans or other mammals can be demonstrated. Although demonstrated suspended animation of humans would be a sufficient condition to endorse cryopreservation, it is not a necessary condition. Terminally ill patients living today have good reasons to choose the possibility of future resuscitation over the certainty of death and should be informed by responsible medical caregivers about the option of cryonics.
Evidence-Based Cryonics does not mean that cryonics procedures should reflect rigorous statistical evidence and peer reviewed publication as a condition to offer them. Although peer reviewed publication and clinical trials should be considered the gold standard for validation of cryonics technologies, such research is not always possible, practical or ethical. In such cases technologies should be based on the best evidence available, which can range from indirect evidence to theoretical considerations.
Evidence-Based Cryonics does not mean that cryonics providers should only offer technologies that evidence supports as being superior to alternatives. Financial and legal constraints may impose limits on what cryonics providers can offer and patients can afford. As long as cryonics organizations fully inform members, patients’ families, and health care professionals about the technologies that the organization uses, the possibility of future resuscitation should prevail over the certainty of death.