BPF in the News

Press coverage of announced winning of the Small Mammal Brain Preservation Prize:

 

New Scientist

Selected quote: ” Kenneth Hayworth, president of the Brain Preservation Foundation, has helped verify that Fahy and McIntyre’s technique works, but he emphasises that the defrosted rabbit brain was not functional. “That was never the point,” he says. “The point was to demonstrate that the structure of the delicate synaptic circuitry of the brain could be preserved over indefinite time spans.” … “The prizewinning technique is totally different from the one that [current cryonics service organizations] use,” says Hayworth. “This is only the first step in a long process of serious research and experimentation that might eventually prove that medical application to human patients is warranted.” [link to article]

Scientific American

Selected quote: ” I witnessed the infusion of a rabbit brain through its carotid arteries with a fixative agent called glutaraldehyde, which binds proteins together into a solid gel. The brain was [further perfused with] ethylene glycol, a cryoprotective agent eliminating ice formation and allowing safe storage at −130 degrees C as a glasslike, inert solid. At that temperature, chemical reactions are so attenuated that it could be stored for millennia… The winning rabbit brain was in fact the one that this author witnessed while writing this article. -From Michael Shermer’s Skeptic column in SA [link to article]

Huffington Post

Selected quote: ” While the preserved brain was dead tissue, all of its synaptic connections — or the junctions of nerve cells — were maintained, Robert McIntyre, a scientist at company 21st Century Medicine who led the research, told The Huffington Post. “This research is a first because it works on whole brains and preserves all of the synaptic details,” he said. “Previous techniques, such as resin embedding, are only able to preserve detailed synaptic information in small brain slices.” [link to article]

Gizmodo

Selected quote: To pull that off, McIntyre perfused a rabbit’s vascular system with a chemical fixative called glutaraldehyde. This quickly stopped metabolic decay and fixed the proteins in place… The researchers added cryoprotectant slowly over four hours to avoid damaging the brain’s structure. Normally, a brain starts to degrade after just 30 minutes following death. But as McIntyre explained to Gizmodo, the “glutaraldehyde [bought] us weeks and the cryoprotectant [bought] us centuries.” The resulting brain was fixed and frozen—both literally and figuratively—such that its synaptic elements remained intact.”It remains to be seen how this new approach to brain preservation will affect the cryonics community as a whole. Classicists at Alcor and the Cryonics Institute steadfastly believe that brains (and bodies, for that matter) must be preserved with as little damage as possible. But the “plastinators,” as the new breed is called, believe it’s important to preserve the information embedded in the brain, while placing a low premium on preserved biological parts. [link to article]

Popular Science

Selected quote: Five years ago, a non-profit organization called the Brain Preservation Foundation (BPF) challenged the world’s neuroscience community to a tough task: to preserve a mouse brain (or a mammalian brain of equal size) for extreme long-term storage. All the neurons and synapses within it would have to remain intact and visible while viewed under a special electron microscope….McIntyre and his team figured out how to preserve the brain’s circuitry by using strong chemicals to [fix and cryoprotect] the neurons and synapses, and then chilling them to extremely cold temperatures. His technique, called “Aldehyde-Stabilized Cryopreservation”, was published this past December in the journal Cryobiology. ” [link to article]

Discovery News

Selected quote: ” Their approach is also the opposite of existing cryonic human-preservation services. The Foundation challenges neuroscientists to start with an effective animal model. The longterm goal: Rigorously demonstrate a surgical technique that can completely — and inexpensively — preserve a whole human brain for more than 100 years in a way that keeps neuronal processes and synaptic connections intact. Plus, you must use current electron microscopic imaging techniques.” [link to article]

Newsweek

Selected quote: ” “The brain was able to be sliced and viewed in an electron microscope which suggested that all the connections had been preserved,” Michael Cerullo, a psychiatrist at the Brain Preservation Foundation, tells Newsweek.

Note this story was corrected after initial web publication in response to a BPF request to do so: Correction | The article originally stated that the brain had been recovered. It has been updated to clarify that the rabbit brain has so far only been preserved, not recovered. [link to article]

Tech Times

Selected quote:A team of scientists successfully preserved a rabbit brain without damage. For the first time, the team demonstrated that it is possible to subject a complete mammalian brain into a long-term and almost perfect physical preservation …The ASC process keeps the brain’s synapses, cell membranes and intracellular structures complete and undamaged during preservation. The rabbit brain’s electron microscope images revealed that the neural circuits were preserved beautifully … Hayworth said the new research should result in a changed interest in cryonics.[link to article]

Science Recorder

Selected quote:This is a huge step for the field because it addresses one of the main criticisms about cryonics, which is that [traditional cryonics] cannot preserve the brain’s synaptic circuitry. While more work needs to be done, researchers say, the success of the ASC could ignite new interest in the field of cryogenics.” [link to article]


PRWeb

[link to original press release on PRWeb]

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