How to Reboot Your Corpse

Thousands of bodies are already cryonically frozen, waiting for faster computers and medical advances that will undo their cause of death

3 min read

What is death? Over the centuries, the line dividing life and death has moved from the cessation first of breathing, then of the heartbeat, and finally of brain activity. But cryogenic methods first contemplated in science fiction may push the line even further. The idea is to freeze legally dead people in liquid nitrogen in the hope of regenerating them at some future date. Today’s cryonics scientists believe that this future may be a mere 100 years away. Alcor Life Extension Foundation, in Scottsdale, Ariz., the world’s largest cryonics company, charges US $150 000 to freeze and maintain a body and $80 000 for a head, typically paid for with a life insurance policy.

Ralph Merkle, a nanotechnology expert and a director at Alcor, believes the best approach lies in developing nanorobots that can repair the body at the cellular level before thawing. They would fix or replace diseased and deteriorated tissue as well as the tissue fractures and denatured proteins that result from the freezing process itself. The revival process would, ideally, restore the physiology of dead persons to a pristine level, not only undoing the damage of whatever disease or accident killed them but also enabling them to return smarter and healthier than they ever were in life.

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A New Treatment for Arthritis: Vagus-Nerve Stimulation

Studies will soon show whether electroceuticals outperform pharmaceuticals

5 min read
A tablet computer, a smartphone, a grey belt with white stripes, a grey disc, and a small silver rectangle with a wire curled beside it.

Galvani’s system includes a nerve stimulator that attaches to the splenic nerve.

Galvani Bioelectronics

Monique Robroek once had such crippling arthritis that, even with the best available medications, she struggled to walk across a room. But thanks to an electronic implant fitted under her skin, she managed to wean herself off all her drugs and live pain-free for nearly a decade—until recently, when a viral illness made her rheumatoid arthritis (RA) flare up again.

This article is part of our special report Top Tech 2023.

Robroek’s long remission is “very impressive” and rare among patients with RA, says her doctor Frieda Koopman, a rheumatologist at Amsterdam UMC, in the Netherlands. Robroek’s experience highlights the immense potential of so-called bioelectronic medicine, also known as electroceuticals, an emerging field of treatment for diseases that have traditionally been managed with pharmaceuticals alone.

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