What is Cryogenics?
Cryogenics, another term for cryonics, is the science that addresses the production and effects of very low temperatures.
Over the years the term cryogenics has generally been used to refer to temperatures below approximately -150 C, according to the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST).
How does cryogenic preservation work?
Cryogenic preservation allows living cells to be stored at ultra-low temperatures.
Legally-dead people are cooled to liquid nitrogen temperature “where physical decay essentially stops”, the Cryonics Institute, one of only three facilities in the world that offers the service, says.
Soon after death the person’s body is cooled and injected with various chemicals in order to reduce the risk of blood clotting and damage to the brain.
The blood is removed and the blood vessels injected with a solution called ‘cryoprotectant’ to stop ice crystal developing in organs and tissue.
Dr Anders Sandberg, member of the UK Cryonics Research network, told BBC Radio 4 Today on Friday: “The idea is to do this (cooling) quickly enough so you don’t get oxygen deprivation, because that is what really starts to harm the brain – even within minutes of death if you keep normal body temperature.
“But as has been demonstrated when people have fallen into cold lakes and nearly drowned, if you lower body temperature quite a bit then the time window grows.”
Currently cryonics is not legally allowed to be carried out on living people.