Tuesday, September 8, 2009

The Alleged "Research" of Alcor and Suspended Animation

There are people who maintain that Alcor and Suspended Animation, Inc. are engaging in scientific research. Personally, I don't think many scientists would consider what they are doing to be legitimate research, (and, not because it involves cryonics, but because it is so damn sloppy). Their "research reports" are, for the most part, rambling narratives that describe a bunch of amateurs attemping to perform well-established medical procedures, they are not qualified to perform, nothing more.

Has anyone working at these two organizations ever heard of things like...

The Scientific Method?

Dependent variables?

Independent variables?

Control groups? (And, don't tell me the control group is in the cemetery.)


Reproducibility? How would anyone reproduce what Alcor and/or SA do, in any of their cases? They don't even appear to know what they are doing, most of the time, and thus far, there seems to be little reliable documentation. For example, in CI-81, none of the SA team members, or advisors, even knew how much heparin had been given, and some of the medications were spilled on the floor of a vehicle they were in.

In my opinion, SA's washouts and Alcor's cryopreservations are not "research," any more than the heart surgeries I particpated in were "research." These are medical procedures, not research. Alcor and SA are bumbling along, attemping to perform femoral cannulations and perfusion, (medical procedures that were virtually perfected decades ago), without much success. If you ask me, it's just a bunch of laymen, "playing doctor."

Maybe Alcor has hopes someone will perform research on the people they are cryopreserving, in the future, but for now, what Alcor and SA are doing looks a lot more like sloppy embalming, to me.

Suspended Animation Plans Cryopreservation Procedures for Boynton Beach Facility

From the Suspended Animation website:

"SA will perform vitrification procedures, followed by rapid cooling at our facility, and low-temperature ground transport to the patient’s cryonics organization. This scenario will be appropriate where the patient is closer or can be transported to the SA facility more quickly than they can reach their cryonics facility."

What are the applicable regulations for their facility?
What do they plan to do with their biohazardous waste?
Are they familiar with regulations that will apply to traveling across numerous state lines, to Arizona, or Michigan?

(All questions I asked, as an SA employee, so they've had nearly three years to think about these things.)

And about that "low-temperature ground transport," that was a suggestion yours truly made, as an SA employee, in a report to Saul Kent in 2006. My second blog entry, on July 9, 2007 was a reprint of that report, (perhaps, with minor revisions):

"In discussing the cooldown and long-distance cryogenic transport of patients, the advantages of transporting patients in a vehicle, (rather than dealing with the transport issues and regulations associated with using commercial aircraft, or delivery services such as FedEx), was considered. The Sprinter might be suitable for this purpose. It’s comfortable and economical, and really not of much use in other capacities, once the build-out of the larger vehicle is completed. In addition, the use of the Sprinter for cryogenic transport would provide the added advantage of continuous patient monitoring by personnel in the vehicle, something that would be unavailable when using commercial shipping. SA should consider studies of the feasibility and projected cost of converting the Sprinter for cryogenic transport, and make comparisons to other methods of cryogenic shipping. If it is not suitable for cryogenic transport, it should be replaced with a van suitable for rapidly deploying standby equipment and personnel to the airport."


I don't recall any feedback on my suggestion, other than a consultant raising hell because I didn't clear my report with him, before sending it to Saul. (I believe I was a "co-manager" at the time, but that didn't seem to mean anything to the consultant.)

Monday, September 7, 2009

Suspended Animation's Medication Protocol

I was recently told that someone asked for Suspended Animation's medications protocol and was told, (allegedly, by SA manager Catherine Baldwin), that they would have to sign an NDA (non-disclosure agreement), in order to get it. Here are SA's meds, (from their own CI-81 case report):

1 Heparin 30,000 IU + Anticoagulant
2 Propofol 20 mg General Anaesthetic
3 Streptokinase 250,000 IU Fibrinolytic
4 Vasopressin 200 IU Vasopressor
5 Aspirin (Aspegic) 200 mg Antiplatelet
6 Epinephrine 30 mg Vasopressor
7 SMT 400 mg i-NOS Inhibitor
8 Ketorolac 7.5 mg Anti-inflammatory
9 Gentamicin 80 mg Antibiotic
10 Vital-Oxy 80 ml Free Radical Scavenger Cocktail
11 Dextran 40 250 ml Volume Expander
12 THAM (0.6M) <250>

+ Exact dosage of heparin is unknown.
* An unknown quantity of THAM was spilled on the floor of the vehicle.

The following 5 stabilization medications and fluids were not administered but should have
been administered:
NiKy consisting of Niacinimide, 500 mg, a PARP-inhibitor, and L-Kynurenine, 1 g,
an exitotoxicity-inhibitor
Citrate Dextrose, a calcium chelator / anticoagulant / solvent for L-Kynurenine
Mannitol, 100 g (500 ml), an osmotic agent
Maalox, an antacid


Note the use of the general anesthetic, propofol, the medication recently associated with the death of Michael Jackson. Why might they be using this drug? I was told they included it, because they were afraid their efforts might resuscitate a "legally dead" patient. I seriously doubt this, but I had an answer for that issue, when I was working at SA. I made my suggestion, several times, both before, and after, my resignation.

If they would stop administering oxygen, it would achieve several goals:

1. Eliminate the possibility of reviving a "legally dead" patient.
2. Minimize reperfusion injury.
3. Avoid legal ramifications.

Use your heads, people!!!

Cold Filter Forum is Like SA

At Suspended Animation, (SA), we used to have these staff meetings, where we discussed the on-going projects. Whenever someone objected to any of the projects, the discussion went pretty much nowhere. (And, no, I wasn't the only person objecting to Platt's projects, cryonicists Sullivan and de Wolf frequently had the same objections.) I don't know why we ever bothered to complain, as it was pointless. All that resulted was a lot of cowardly subversion, with Platt recruiting some of his highly-paid RUP's to help him (sometimes secretly) continue the projects, and somehow convincing Kent they were being productive. It's pretty much the same situation, on this forum. I come here and make valid arguments against what SA is doing, and Platt takes impressionable people behind the scenes, in private emails, where no one can refute his claims, and I end up fighting a never-ending battle of one "Luke" at a time. That's in addition to the lies that were told about me, and the personal attacks that were made on me, (and, that's pretty much the same as what went on, at SA, too...Sullivan, de Wolf and I, (and even some of the RUP's, on occasion), were frequent targets of character assassinations).

I've tried to walk away from cryonics, several times. When I quit SA, I didn't have anything to say about them, (other than to my husband and a couple of cryo-friends), for more than four months. I had other dragons to slay, and I really just wanted to put the stupidity of it all (SA) behind me. But, every day I thought about it...about how they were lying about their capabilities, and about how I felt Platt had totally, and absolutely, resisted any change that might have resulted in him logging fewer $50 hours, even if it would have meant we would have been taking steps toward a better level of patient care, and I got more and more angry, until I could no longer ignore the situation.

At some point, I realized how harshly I had treated a couple of people at SA, who are just ordinary people making a lot of money doing what their bosses have told them to do, and I tried to walk away, again. Then, I realized, (all over again), that maintaining the salaries of a few unqualified people does not justify harming patients, not even "legally dead" ones. Some of the people at SA are quite intelligent and talented in other areas, but they don't have the backgrounds required to carry out the procedures SA is selling, and I don't think the cryonics industry should suffer, so that these people can maintain their lifestyles. SA needs experienced people who can gain IV access on patients with no blood pressure, perform femoral cannulations and competently perform perfusion. With the money they have at their disposal, there's no excuse for them to be sending unskilled patient care providers.

Platt, de Wolf and I, (who were all at SA, together), could have probably rocked the world of cryonics, if he hadn't seen Aschwin and me as "the enemy." I had a lot of knowledge about the procedures we were supposed to be doing, Aschwin's talents are obvious on his "Depressed Metabolism" blog, and in addition to his writing and computer-related skills, Platt had a lot of influence with Kent. Unfortunately, Platt didn't want anything to change, at SA, and he fought everything Aschwin and I tried to do, "tooth and nail." Apparently, he was afraid that, if his amateur design and fabrication projects dried up, he would be out of a good income, though I don't think that's true. Platt probably believed deWolf and I simply wanted to get rid of him, but that's not true, either, (at least it wasn't, in the beginning). We just wanted him to do things differently, in ways that didn't defy common sense.

If I had it to do all over again, I would ask Kent AND Faloon to come spend a week in a room with Platt, de Wolf and me, and I would bring along a lot of documentation, and maybe even a medical professional, or two. Unfortunately, we can't go back to that time, and I don't seem to be able to let it go, and I'm really getting tired of fighting this battle one "Luke" at a time, with Platt always behind the scenes. Regardless, I won't walk away, again. I may walk in a new direction, but I won't walk away.

Now, my apologies to the moderator...As I recall, I'm not supposed to mention the name "Platt," but that is what this situation with Luke is all about. It's a replay of the situation, at SA, with me standing in the middle of the room, publicly stating SA's projects are beyond misguided and the cryo-equivalent of medical malpractice, and Platt taking people behind the scenes and convincing them, one at a time, that all is good. There's a reason people like Kent, Baldwin, and Platt won't publicly respond to my accusations of incompetence, and that reason should be quite obvious, to everyone.