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未来系列:冷冻技术 ——重获新生

FUTURES: Cryonics – Coming Back To Life

by Matthew Morrow

一个人的眼睛慢慢睁开,仿佛刚从沉睡中恢复过来。头部静止,眼皮固定睁开,他的眼球混乱地扫向各个方向。 房间是黑暗且陌生的。男人赤裸的身体淹没在一个充满冰块的奇怪钢制浴缸里。浴缸正前方的墙上挂着一个红色标志。

A man’s eyes open slowly as if they just recovered from a deep sleep. With a still head and eyelids fixed wide open, his eyeballs chaotically scan in every direction. The room is dark and foreign. The man’s naked body lies submerged in a strange steel bathtub full of ice. A red sign hangs on the wall directly in front of the tub.

“在紧急情况下,不要动,立即拨打911。”

“In case of emergency, don’t move, call 911 immediately.” 

该男子注意到他旁边的墙上栓着一部固定电话。他颤抖的手指抓住电话,拨打了911。在向接线员描述了情况后,没有任何回应。电话突然转接,一名工作人员开始用尖锐的语气说话。

The man notices a landline phone bolted to the wall next to him. His shaking fingers grab the phone and dial 911. After describing the situation to the operator, there is no response. The call suddenly transfers, and an agent begins speaking in a sharp tone.

“把手伸到你脑袋后面。”

“Reach behind your head.” 

这名男子将头侧向一边,但在他的周边没有任何可见的东西。他麻木、僵硬的手臂慢慢开始向后移动。

The man juts his head side-to-side, but there is nothing visible in his periphery. His numb, stiff arms slowly begin moving posteriorly.  

“你能感觉到有一根管子从你的头骨底部伸出来吗?”

“Can you feel a tube sticking out of the base of your skull?” 

当他把手伸到脖子后面,他的手碰到了薄薄的塑料。他的手指向后追踪到头骨。两只手紧紧握住,抓住并拉动。它不给力。

Reaching behind his neck, his hand hits thin plastic. His fingers trace back it towards the skull. With a tight grip, both hands grab and pull. It doesn’t give. 

这人猛地抓起电话,大喊:”发生什么事了!?”

Grasping the phone violently, the man yells, “What is happening!?” 

探员回答说:”联邦调查局最近关闭了该地区的一个研究实验室,该实验室从当地急诊室绑架成年人并在他们身上进行非法实验。”

The agent replies, “The FBI recently shut down a research laboratory in the area for kidnapping adults from local emergency rooms and running illegal experiments on them.” 

当他的心脏同时撞击他的胸壁时,这人感受到了头部深深的脉动痛感。

Deep pulsating aches overcome the man’s head as his heart pounds against his chest wall simultaneously. 

“我们有理由相信你刚刚在他们的一个相关设施中醒来,”探员说。”你能从浴缸里出来吗?”

“We have reason to believe you just woke up in one of their associated facilities,” the agent says. “Are you able to get out of the tub?” 

他尖叫着说:”等一下!什么样的实验?这个管子是做什么的!?”

He screeches, “Hold on! What kind of experiments? What does this tube do!?” 

代理人轻声而坚定地说:”你需要保持冷静。我们必须核实你的位置,以便我们派遣一名特工来帮忙。”

The agent softly yet firmly says, “You need to stay calm. We have to verify your location so we can dispatch an agent to help.” 

深吸一口气,他回答说:”好的。 我会试着站起来看看周围。”

Taking a deep breath, he replies, “Okay. I’ll try to get up and look around.” 

他勉强能够弯曲膝盖,他的双腿也能够设法站立而不滑倒。房间的角落里放着一根输液杆。它上面挂着一个空袋子,连接着管子。袋子上写着:

Barely able to bend his knees, his legs manage to stand without slipping. An IV pole sits in the corner of the room. It has an empty bag hanging from it that connects to the tube. The bag reads: 

“颈内动脉:5L冷盐水,13%二甲亚砜,13%甘油。”

“Intracarotid: 5L cold saline, 13% dimethyl sulfoxide, 13% glycerol.” 

当这个人的脚步向唯一的一扇门走去时,输液杆的轮子充当了拐杖。这扇门有某种指纹扫描仪,而不是门把手。他把拇指放在上面,扫描仪亮了起来。什么也没有发生。

The IV pole’s wheels act as a crutch as the man’s feet shuffle towards the only door. The door has some sort of fingerprint scanner instead of a doorknob. He places his thumb on it, and the scanner lights up. Nothing happens. 

他的第一直觉是敲门和尖叫。

His first instinct is to bang on the door and scream. 

“救命啊!!!有人在吗?求求了!”

“HELP!!! Is anybody there!? Please!” 

一个机器人女声开始在头顶的扬声器上播放。”你好,最后记录的96B-79S号病人的生命体征是96小时20分钟前的,在正常范围内。你还有什么需要帮助的吗?”

A robotic female voice starts playing on the overhead speakers. “Hello, the last recorded vital signs for patient identification number 96B-79S are from 96 hours and 20 minutes ago and were within normal limits. Is there anything else you need help with?” 

那人喊道:”你是谁!?”

The man shouts, “Who are you!?” 

回应立刻响起:”对不起,我不能理解这个命令。请再试一次。”

An immediate response plays, “I’m sorry, I don’t recognize that command. Please try again.” 

他又带了一句:“我在哪里!?”

He belts again, “Where am I!?”

相同的回应再次播放。

The same response plays. 

这个人身体靠在门上,继续用他所剩无几的肌肉力量敲击着门。他败下阵来,喃喃地说:”请……你能不能把门打开。”

With his body weight leaning on the door, the man’s fist continues to pound on it with what little strength his muscles have left. He defeatedly murmurs, “please…can you just open the door.” 

门自动抖动着打开。从门缝里望去,似乎是一个废弃的控制室,有几十个门,每个门外都有独立的屏幕。

The door automatically jolts open. The doorway reveals a glimpse of what appears to be an abandoned control room with dozens of doors and individual screens outside each of them.

他跛着脚走向出口,门外的亮光吸引了他的视线。他看着屏幕,脑部疼痛感加深了。这里有一个触摸屏界面,上面有一个动画的人体。他点了一下盘旋在人体头上的闪光灯,屏幕上写着:

Limping towards the exit, a bright light outside the door catches his eye. Looking at the screen deepens his cerebral aches. There is a touchscreen interface with an animated human body. After tapping on the flashing light hovering over the body’s head, the screen reads:

脑部
来源:96号子病人
过期日期:06/03/2030
过期原因:继发于胰腺肿块的肝衰竭
过期至采集时间:7分钟
采集时的年龄:31岁

Brain
Origin: Sub-patient 96
Date expired: 06/03/2030
Cause of expiration: liver failure secondary to pancreas mass

Expiration to harvest time: 7 minutes
Age at harvest: 31 years

他困惑了,于是点了一下返回箭头,随后按了一下尸体躯干上方的灯。

Confused, he taps the arrow to go back and press on the light over the body’s trunk.

外壳(包括器官)
来源:79号子病人
过期日期:04/22/2030
过期原因:头部外伤
过期至采集时间:25分钟
采集时的年龄:22岁

Shell (organs included)
Origin: Sub-patient 79
Date expired: 04/22/2030
Cause of expiration: head trauma
Expiration to harvest time: 25 minutes

Age at harvest: 22 years”

颤抖着,男人的食指向后面的箭头移动。他感觉自己的脑袋就像是要爆炸了。在屏幕的左上方,一条红色的信息弹出:”警告。需要立即采取行动。” 点击它,就出现了一个新的窗口:

Trembling, the man’s oscillating index finger moves towards the back arrow. His head feels like it’s going to explode. In the top left of the screen, a message in red reads, “Warning. Action needed immediately.” Tapping it prompts a new window:

留言日期:02/15/3008
移植病人编号:96B-79S
逾期输液:逾期95小时20分钟。
请进行紧急输液以确保充分保存。

Date of message: 02/15/3008
Transplant Patient ID: 96B-79S
Overdue Infusion: 95 hours and 20 minutes overdue.
Please administer emergent infusion to ensure adequate preservation.

从隔壁房间传来的哭声打断了我对信息的阅读。输液杆协助他冲了过来。门打不开。由于太阳穴被严重刺伤,他现在根本无法思考。

A cry coming from the next room interrupts my reading of the message. The IV pole aids him in rushing over. The door won’t open. It’s now impossible to think with the insane stabbing in his temple.

一个女孩微弱的声音低声说:”嘿,有人在吗?我在哪里?”

A girl’s faint voice whispers, “Hello, is someone there? Where am I?” 

那人的下巴无法张开来做出回应。一切都显得模糊起来。他的眼睛越来越难睁开。 他的膝盖开始打颤。他的手掌失去了对输液杆的控制。有那么一瞬间,有什么东西敦促他停止抵抗。

The man’s jaw won’t open to respond. Everything seems blurry. It gets harder to keep his eyes open. His knees start to buckle. His palms lose grip of the IV pole. For a moment, something urges him to stop resisting.  

自动记录的神经转录结束。复活耗时:6分钟。

End of auto-recorded neural transcription. Duration of reanimation: 6 minutes. 

冷冻技术,即深层冷冻刚刚在法律上死亡的人的身体,目的是在未来的某一天使他们复活。这种做法依赖于一种信念,即技术将足够先进,在未来的某一天能够实现这一目标。因此,冷冻学的目的是重新定义人类死亡的现有医学和法律定义。在这里,我们将探讨关于冷冻学研究的现有证据是什么,以及今天在该领域正在进行哪些有希望的工作。

Cryonics is defined as the practice of deep-freezing the bodies of humans who have just legally died, with the goal of reviving them at a future date. This practice relies on the belief that technology will be advanced enough to accomplish this goal one day in the future. Cryonics, thus, aims to redefine the current medical and legal definitions of human death. Here, we will explore what the existing evidence about cryonics research and what promising work is being done in the field today. 

冷冻学的实践可以追溯到1967年,在此期间,一位73岁的心理学家在现在著名的冷冻学领导者阿尔科生命延续基金会的帮助下,成为第一个接受低温冷冻的人类。此后,一些希望加入这一技术的组织开了又关,今天仍在运作的不到十家。

The practice of cryonics dates back to 1967, during which a 73-year old psychologist became the first human to undergo cryogenic freezing with the help of a now prominent leader in cryonics, Alcor Life Extension Foundation. Several organizations looking to get in on the practice have since opened and closed their doors, with less than a dozen still operating today. 

截至2020年,阿尔科报告说,近1300人已经与他们完成了完整的法律和财务安排手续,等待冷冻保存。更有甚者,自1967年的第一位病人以来,又有175位病人已经接受了冷冻保存。几乎所有这些病人的案例摘要都可以在阿尔科的网站上找到。例如,他们最近的病人A-1774是一位77岁的男性,他在2020年1月因心脏骤停而在法律意义上死亡,在宣布死亡后的90分钟内,他的整个遗体被送到了阿尔科的手术室进行冷冻保存。

As of 2020, Alcor reports that nearly 1,300 people have completed full legal and financial arrangements with them for pending cryopreservation. Even more, 175 additional patients have already undergone cryopreservation since that first patient in 1967. Case summaries of nearly all of these patients are available on Alcor’s website. For example, their most recent patient, A-1774, is a 77-year old male who legally died of cardiac arrest in January 2020 and whose whole body arrived for cryopreservation in Alcor’s operating room within 90 minutes of his pronouncement of death. 

该领域的人士将阿尔科视为冷冻技术实践方面最可靠的信息来源。  尽管目前还没有病人被复活,但阿尔科正通过专注于优化低温保存技术来引领研究方向。这些技术包括玻璃化(一种减少结冰的过程)和研究发展中的技术,如分子纳米技术,它可能允许细胞和组织的完全再生。

Those in the field have championed Alcor as the most reliable source of information on the practice of cryonics.  Although no patients have been revived just yet, Alcor is leading the way in research by focusing on optimizing cryopreservation techniques. These techniques include vitrification (a process that reduces ice formation) and studying developing technologies such as molecular nanotechnology, which may allow for the complete regeneration of cells and tissues. 

阿尔科最近在2018年收到了一笔500万美元的捐款,用于专注于冷冻技术,他们用这笔钱购置了一台CT扫描仪,用于评估病人低温灌注期间和已经保存的病人的冷冻损伤。这些资金还使他们能够改进他们的液体通风系统,使病人在冰浴中的冷却速度更快。

Alcor recently received a $5 million donation in 2018 to focus on cryonics technology, with which they have acquired a CT scanner that evaluates freezing damage during cryo-perfusion of patients and in already preserved patients. These funds additionally helped improve their liquid ventilation system to allow for faster cooling of patients in an ice bath.

冷冻学研究所(CI)是该领域的另一个先驱者,它由 “冷冻学之父 “罗伯特·埃廷格创立。其宣称的使命是让人们有机会重新生活,看到更光明的未来。 截至2020年6月,该组织已经帮助186名患者实现了低温化。2020年4月,CI第186号病人,一位在住院期间合法死亡的81岁男性被放在干冰上,并被转移到他们的设施中进行控制冷却到液氮的温度。由于COVID的旅行限制,48小时的灌注窗口被放弃了,因为病人直到宣判后一周才到达他们的设施。CI第185号病人也出现了类似的延迟,她是一位来自英国伦敦的83岁女性,由于旅行限制,她在法定死亡日期一个月后才到达该机构。 

Cryonics Institute (CI), is another leader in the field, founded by the “father of cryonics” Robert Ettinger. Its stated mission is to give people the opportunity to live again to see a brighter future. As of June 2020, the organization has helped 186 patients achieve cryostasis. In April 2020, CI patient #186, an 81-year-old male who legally died during hospitalization was placed on dry ice and transferred to their facility for controlled cooling to the temperature of liquid nitrogen. Due to COVID travel restrictions, the 48-hour window for perfusion was forgone, as the patient did not arrive at their facility until one week from pronouncement. A similar delay was seen in CI patient #185, an 83-year-old female from London, England, who did not arrive at the facility until one month after the date of legal death due to travel restrictions.

在现有的冷冻学研究方面,包括上述两个组织在内的一些组织一直在与科学家合作,以推动该领域的发展。在冷冻学方面的论文可以在科学杂志上找到,如《年轻化研究》和《自然》。研究的重点是记录人类(或人类大脑)的成功冷冻,以及冷冻动物的生命和大脑功能的恢复。

In terms of available cryonics research, several organizations, including the two mentioned above, have been working with scientists to advance the field. Published efforts in cryonics can be found in scientific journals such as Rejuvenation Research and Nature. Studies have focused on documenting the successful cryopreservation of humans (or human brains) as well as the revival of life and brain function in cryopreserved animals. 

例如,阿尔科研究中心和两所合作大学2015年的一项研究发现,经历了冷冻保存并复苏的秀丽隐杆线虫所属物种能够保留负责形成长期记忆的机制。耶鲁大学医学院2018年的一项研究表明,猪脑的分子和细胞功能在死亡后恢复了长达4小时。研究人员开发了一个有点类似于透析机的大脑灌注系统,但他们不是为功能不佳的肾脏人工过滤液体,而是为大脑提供其生存所需的分子。灌注是通过以脉冲方式不断将保护性液体泵入大脑来完成的,从而使脑细胞和组织得到持续的氧气供应。

For example, a 2015 study by Alcor Research Center and two collaborating universities found that C. elegans species who underwent cryopreservation and revival were able to retain the mechanisms responsible for forming long-term memories. A 2018 study by Yale University School of Medicine demonstrated the restoration of molecular and cellular function in pig brains for up to four hours after death. The researchers developed a brain perfusion system that is somewhat analogous to a dialysis machine, but instead of artificially filtering fluids for poorly functioning kidneys, they supplied a brain with the molecules it needs for survival. Perfusion was accomplished by continuously pumping protective fluids into the brain in a pulsatile manner, allowing for sustained oxygen supply to brain cells and tissues.

最近,长寿桥公司和两个与其合作的大学在2020年进行的一项研究表明,阿根廷一位78岁女性的大脑被成功冷冻保存。人类的低温保存技术需要将低温保护液体注入大脑的颈动脉,并在三组大鼠中进行复制。然后用免疫组化法分析了大脑样本,以确定这些动物的实验相关性。结果显示,大脑功能的某些神经元标志物没有受到低温保存的影响,而其他神经元标志物的数量则明显下降。

Most recently, a 2020 study by Longevity Bridge, Inc. and two university partners demonstrated successful cryopreservation of the brain of a 78-year-old female in Argentina. The human cryopreservation technique, which required an infusion of a cryoprotective liquid into the brain’s carotid arteries, was replicated in three groups of rats. Brain samples were then analyzed by immunohistochemistry, to establish experimental correlates in these animals. The results showed that certain neuron markers of brain function were unaffected by cryopreservation, while other neuron markers saw a marked dropped in number. 

很明显,由于现有技术和医学的缺陷,冷冻学研究将保持相对停滞。领先的冷冻学机构已将纳米技术作为该行业的未来,以及成功和安全地使人类在冷冻状态下复活的关键来倡导。然而,在该技术进一步发展之前,不太可能有任何与冷冻技术有关的人体临床试验。目前,大部分的相关工作都是为了完善低温保存过程中所使用的冷却和储存方法,以及研究在动物身上复活的技术。随着过去几十年技术的指数式增长,冷冻学将寻求不断利用新兴的进展来慢慢推进他们的工作。

It becomes evident that cryonics research will remain relatively stagnant due to the shortcomings of existing technology and medicine. The leading cryonics institutions have championed nanotechnology as the future of the industry and the key to the successful and safe revival of humans in cryostasis. Still, until that technology develops further, there will unlikely be any cryonics-related clinical trials on humans. At present, the bulk of related efforts are pushing towards perfecting the cooling and storage methodology used during cryopreservation and studying revival techniques in animal subjects. With the exponential growth rate of technology seen in the last several decades, cryonics will be looking to continuously leverage emerging advances to slowly move their work forward. 

冷冻术的伦理问题最终因使用理论证据(即我们对于未来技术的模样的想法)而变得复杂。支持者可能会争辩说,医疗机构不进行冷冻术违反了他们所宣誓的希波克拉底誓言,而其他人可能会指出证据不足或人口过剩作为反驳理由。仅仅是这种讨论就可以写成书了。过去几年里,《医学伦理学和生物伦理学杂志》上发表了赞成和反对的详细讨论。

The ethics of cryonics is ultimately complicated by the use of theoretical evidence (i.e., the idea that we can predict what future technologies will look like). Supporters might argue that medical providers violate the Hippocratic oath they swear to by not practicing cryonics, while others might point to insufficient evidence or overpopulation as counterarguments. Books could be written on this discussion alone. Detailed discussions, both in favor and against, have been published in the last few years in the Journal of Medical Ethics and Bioethics.

在本文开头的反乌托邦叙事中,介绍了一个世界,其中冷冻技术被滥用于保存未经同意的刚刚死亡的人类的器官。然而,就像今天医疗保健领域的许多情况一样,在紧急情况下,死者的意愿并不总是会提前被人所知。对于那些从未考虑过填写预先指令的年轻病人来说,情况尤其如此。一些病人通过预先指令指定他们希望保持生命的时间,例如,如果他们被置于医学上的昏迷状态。他们的决定可能是基于他们会醒来,拥有基本认知功能,并有更多时间与他们的亲人在一起的百分比几率。

In the dystopian narrative at the beginning of this article, a world was introduced in which cryonic technology was being abused to preserve the organs of non-consenting humans who had just died. However, much like many instances in healthcare today, the wishes of the deceased are not always known in advance of emergent situations. This is especially true for young patients who have never thought about filling out an advanced directive. Some patients specify how long they would want to be kept alive through an advanced directive, for example, if they were placed into a medically induced coma. Their decision may be based on the percentage odds that they would wake up, have their baseline cognitive functions, and spend more time with their loved ones. 

如果一个先进的算法可以告诉你,在未来30年内,你有10%的机会从冷冻状态中恢复过来,那么这种情况可能类似于今天的许多医疗决定。想一想一位30多岁的母亲,她最近与一个爱她的伴侣结婚,生了两个漂亮的孩子,并准备与她美好的家庭开始新的生活。可是她却突然被诊断出患有第四期胰腺癌,病情迅速恶化,并只剩下两个月的生命。如果你有10%的机会在未来30年内醒来且醒来时没有癌症,还能再次见到你的孩子和伴侣,你会接受吗?

If an advanced algorithm could tell you that you have a 10% chance of revival from cryostasis within the next 30 years, then this situation may be analogous to many medical decisions made today. Think about a mother in her 30s who recently married a loving partner, recently gave birth to 2 beautiful children and was about to start a new life with her amazing family. Instead, she is suddenly diagnosed with stage IV pancreatic cancer, is rapidly deteriorating, and is given two months to live. If you had a 10% chance to wake up cancer-free in the next thirty years and get to see your children and partner again, would you take it? 

在更宏观的层面上,冷冻技术为人类前所未有的进步提供了一个机会。如果那些接受冷冻保存的人能够保留他们以前的记忆和知识,那么人类社会和技术就会达到新的高峰。想象一下,如果每一代最聪明和最优秀的人在自然死亡前被保存下来,然后在未来的某一天重聚,对当前的事件进行评估。当然,他们需要了解最新的情况,但这些人提供了他们的聪明才智,以及与生活在完全不同的年代有关的智慧。

On a more macroscopic level, cryonics offers an opportunity for unprecedented human progress. If those who undergo cryopreservation can retain their memories and knowledge from their previous existence, human society and technology could reach new peaks. Imagine if each generation’s brightest and best minds were preserved before their natural death and then reunited at a future date to weigh in on current events. Sure, they would need to catch up on the latest, but these minds offer their brilliance and the wisdom associated with having lived in an entirely different generation. 

想一想,人们经常在思考这样一个问题:”如果你能和历史上的某一个人共进晚餐,你会选谁?” 这个问题背后的动机既包括对他们对历史的生活观点的迷恋,也包括他们对社会进步的独特见解。冷冻学可以迎来一个新的进步时代,在这个时代,来自各个行业和几代人的最聪明和最有影响力的人可以联合起来,使世界变得更美好。

Think of how often people muse over the question, “If you could have dinner with one person in all of history, who would you pick?” The motivation behind this question includes both the fascination with their lived perspective on history and their unique opinion on the progress of society. Cryonics could usher in a new age of progress, in which the brightest and most influential minds from every industry and across several generations could unite to make the world a better place.

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