Zurich, Switzerland (October 22-24)
By Taya Maki
Présidente de la Société Cryonics de France
I had the pleasure of attending the Biostasis 2021 event held in Zurich Switzerland late October, 2021. Tomorrow Biostasis is a new European organization which, coupled with the European Biostasis Foundation, is building a cryonics storage facility in Switzerland and offering affordable plans for younger cryonicists. This is very exciting for us here in Europe! Biostasis is their annual event and I must say it was very well organized and enjoyable.
Looking back on the cryonics symposium in Dresden in 2014 and hearing people speak of a potential facility in Europe, I am happy to say that it is actually happening! I love the fact that this field is always evolving and bringing in new interest and research to help bring it into the mainstream (even though we still have a ways to go). Though I haven’t yet been able to create much change here in France because I have had 2 children since 2015, I think that Tomorrow Biostasis will help bring cryonics to a new audience in Europe and help fuel research and development through new membership funding.
Emil Kenzidorra is the CEO of Tomorrow Biostasis along with Fernando Azevedo Pinheiro and they are motivated to make cryonics available to a wider public. During his presentation, Emil detailed his plans for the future of Tomorrow with a goal to eventually bring down the cost of cryopreservation through membership, a first reponse app as well as long term research and development at the new facility. They have also built an ambulance for standby and transport. Tomorrow Biostasis has a team in Berlin working on many different aspects which include member communication, contracts and medical standby. The European Biostasis Foundation (EBF) encompasses the storage facility as well as research and development. Overall very promising and exciting developments happening in such a short time (and during a pandemic)!
The presentations during the weekend were well varied and I enjoyed the fact that there were many international speakers and participants. This gave me the opportunity to meet many new faces in the community, as well as revisit some friends from past events. Ben Best is one of the first cryonicists I met over 10 years ago and though he wasn’t speaking at this event, he was of course there asking questions and taking photos.
Some of the highlights during the presentations on Friday were: learning from Peter Tsolakides that there is a cryonics storage facility almost ready to open in Australia next year, Aaron Drake showing an in depth look at the advanced technology and progress in China, and Dr. Ramon Risco’s encouraging research on the potential of ultrasound to minimize ice damage during fast rewarming of tissue. I was also interested to hear Jordi Sandalinas’ talk about the Europan Cryonics Law Institute with a goal of creating legal standards across Europe. Depite the huge scope of this type of project, this is something that could greatly help the legal position here in France.
After lunch, Jacob Hoekstra gave a great presentation on how to improve the public image and practicality of biostasis as well as the current capabilities of the Biostasis Sciences Foundation, which is based in Amsterdam. Jacob spoke about using the word biostasis instead of cryonics which can give the practice a more mainstream acceptance by including general medical benefits such as organ donation and research. He also suggested the importance of including more medical professionals as well as providing emotional support for patient’s families. His organization has designed and built a dry ice shipping box as well as an amazing ambulance. Seriously, this ambulance is incredible; it has full standby capabilities and incorporates state-of-the-art medical equipment. Jacob is happy to share technology and plan standby training events in his offices in Amsterdam (yes please!). He has been a great resource for me to help organize things here in France, and is willing to come to other European countries in his ambulance when needed.
Michael Benjamin shared the preliminary results from Alcor’s Meta-data analysis project which was quite interesting. Max More then spoke about Alcor’s current projects and goals. It is always enjoyable hearing Max speak, and there are many great things happening at Alcor including the upcoming celebration of its 50 year anniversary! They currently have some interesting upcoming research projects and Max emphasized the importance of having case reports to analyze the success of a cryopreservation. He then summarized the media coverage of which he has been a part, and said that overall the outcome has been very positive.
The first day closed with a panel discussion with Max Marty and Daniel Walters who created a cryonics platform on Discord as well as a podcast. They spoke about the importance of creating a sense of community among cryonicists and trying to convince ‘cryocrastinators’ to sign up.
After enjoying some social time in the scenic heart of Zurich, we were ready for another day full of interesting presentations. Dr. Roman Bauer spoke of computational approaches using simulations of cryonics. José Luis Cordeliero gave a summary of the situation in Spain and said that he has helped recently pass a euthanasia law. He also mentioned that cryonics is the ‘Plan B’ in case longevity technology is not achieved in our lifetime. With his infectious ‘joie de vivre’ and positivity, José also said that now is the best time to be alive and that we will achieve immortality in 20 years, a very optimistic outlook. I was happy to receive a copy of his book ‘The Death of Death’ in French, thank you José! He is still looking for an English publisher.
David Wood gave an engaging presentation via Zoom about anticipating problems and finding ways to make cryonics research and practice more successful. He spoke about research breakthroughs, productive partnerships and a philosophy breakthrough with some convincing arguments. He also mentioned the restructuring of agriculture, a topic which I think will be rather important in the future.
Dr. João Pedro de Magalhães spoke about some medical advances in geroscience and how they could help advance cryonics. Rafael Hostettler, the creator of Robodies (humanoid robotic avatars) spoke about long term wealth management while in cryostasis, and what can be considered valuable over long time periods. Eric Vogt, of ICE, spoke about the importance of standby procedures to insure the best possible cryopreservation. Using field cryoprotection takes away the urgency for transport, and this would improve the outcome of many cases. Robert McIntyre shared his research on brain preservation and stated that aldehyde-stabilized cryopreservation is the best possible option we currently have. He suggested that death with dignity could help alleviate pre-mortem brain damage.
Aschwin finished the day with a presentation about improving case outcomes. He suggested using S-MIX (standardized measure of ischemic exposure), CT scans, and having a quality control person to debrief after each case. We are far from having ideal preservation outcomes but the use of these tools, as well as having good cryonics first response, will change this for the better. The 3 C’s of cryonics first response; 1. Circulation, 2. Cooling, 3. Citrate (anti-coagulant). Aschwin said that if we can increase the use of field cryoprection this will eliminate transport damage, akin to what Eric Vogt had mentioned earlier.
I was lucky enough to get a ride in Jacob’s ambulance a few times; not only well equipped but also comfortable! We had the opportunity to tour the new EBF facility, still in construction, which will store future Tomorrow Biostasis patients. It is well located and designed, with a research lab and event space on the main floor and the storage area on the first floor, partially underground. It is projected to be operational at the begining of 2022.
I really enjoyed Biostasis 2021. The organization was excellent, with a well-planned schedule allowing ample break time to discuss and mingle with the other attendees. I feel some of the greatest value of attending such events is the opportunity to meet other like-minded individuals. I always enjoy learning some of the latest research developments from some of the top researchers in cryonics today.
I have rekindled the French organization and will eventually formalize a local standby team in my area of southern France. I know this will be possible with the partnership and support of other European groups like Tomorrow and BSF. I am also creating a to-do list for French cryonicists and have been compiling my research involving French law and the history of cryonics in France.
I also think that creating some art/music/dance about cryonics and longevity would be interesting to reach a broader public. Even though I have my hands full as a mother, school director, dance teacher, and body artist, I am happy to be a part of the public outreach for cryonics, and if anyone is interested in becoming involved in the Société Cryonics de France or collaborating in any way, please don’t hesitate to contact me at: .
Here’s to a long life living to the fullest!