A Dying Young Woman’s Hope in Cryonics and a Future

A Dying Young Woman’s Hope in Cryonics and a Future

This weekend’s New York Times featured a fascinating story on ‘A Dying Young Woman’s Hope in Cryonics and a Future‘ that should be read.  The article presents the tragedy of the passing of Kim Suozzi, who died of cancer at age 23, and her boyfriend, Josh Schisler who’s profound love for Ms. Suozzi led him to stay by her side and follow through on her wishes to preserve her brain Cryogenically after her passing.
Journalist Amy Harmon highlights how “they knew how strange it sounded, the hope that Kim’s brain could be preserved in subzero storage so that decades or centuries from now, if science advanced, her billions of interconnected neurons could be scanned, analyzed and converted into computer code that mimicked how they once worked”,
Moreover, she highlights how “Neuroscientists were starting to map the connections between individual neurons believed to encode many aspects of memory and identity”.

Interestingly, “the research, limited so far to small bits of dead animal brain, had the usual goals of advancing knowledge and improving human health. Still, it was driving interest in what would be a critical first step to create any simulation of an individual mind: preserving that pattern of connections in an entire brain after death”.

“I can see within, say, 40 years that we would have a method to generate a digital replica of a person’s mind,” said Winfried Denk, a director at the Max Planck Institute of Neurobiology in Germany, who has invented one of several mapping techniques. “It’s not my primary motivation, but it is a logical outgrowth of our work.”

Father Chris Metropulos, President of Hellenic College Holy Cross invites us to ponder the theological implications of a ‘digital replica of a person’s brain’?

“Take the time to read this article”, said Father Chris.  “While our hearts go out to Kim, the very young woman in this story and our prayers are offered for her eternal soul as Orthodox Christians we cannot but help pause at what she has decided to do with her brain”.  He invites you to p.lease read this article and leave your comments.

Father Chris notes “the donation of organs after death is something that is practiced by some faithful as a act that could save a life or make someone else have a better quality of life”.  “However, it is the thought process of desiring to live forever through medical means that is disturbing to say the least.  We are nowhere near creating such a replica and I hope we never do.  My thought and prayer is to leave these things to the Glory and Plan of the Almighty. Your thoughts?”

To read ‘A Dying Young Woman’s Hope in Cryonics and a Future’ on the New York Times web site, New York Times – A Dying Young Woman’s Hope in Cryonics and a Future.

Posted by Nick Mavrick.  You can find Nick Mavrick on Google+
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Nick Mavrick

Nick Mavrick served on the OCN Board of Directors. The OCN Board consists of volunteers, who are also donors, and are passionate about giving back to the Orthodox Church. We welcome other volunteers to join us.