A tech-startup is offering investors a chance to preserve their brains for some sort of possible reanimation in the future. Nectome developed a new form of preserving brains with more detail than previously accomplished.
One of the drawbacks, however, is that the process is fatal.
Nectome's process for preserving brains requires the brains to be fresh. Death can damage the brain, even if it happened only just a few hours ago. In order to preserve the brain in this procedure, the person must still be alive while the process begins. Nectome hopes to offer their services to people that are terminally ill.
People would have to be connected to a heart-lung machine. This would allow Nectome to fill the recipient with its mix of embalming chemicals. This mix would be pumped into the carotid artery while the person is anesthetized.
One of the co-founders, Robert McIntyre, developed a new method for embalming with cryonics. This method was effective in preserving brains down to the nanometer level. Also preserved in the process is the connectome, the web of synapses that connect neurons.
It is believed that using a connectome map, a person's consciousness could be recreated. The plan is to be able to use the information stored in the brain and have it uploaded instead of reanimating the brain.
Nectome's founders were able to give this technology its first trial run in February. In order to test its process, the Nectome team purchased a freshly deceased body. They were able to buy the body of an elderly woman who had been dead for 2.5 hours.
Details about the woman such as her age or cause of death weren't released. Another detail that wasn't disclosed to the public was the cost of the woman's body. Nectome purchased the body through Aeternitas, a company that arranges people to donate their bodies to science.
After Nectome finished the process, it announced that this was one of the best-preserved brains ever. To study the preservation process, her brain will be sliced into paper-thin sheets and examined with an electron microscope.
Founders of the company are still hesitant to offer the process commercially because of the ethical questions regarding the procedure. There is currently a waiting list for people to receive the procedure. Those on the waiting list are asked for a deposit of $10,000, which is entirely refundable if the participant backs out.