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Death is not a topic that people like to think about, and that is just as true of healthy life extension advocates as anyone else. We have to recognise, however, that the future of healthy life extension (regenerative medicine, stem cell therapies, understanding the biochemical processes of aging, and nanomedicine, to name a few fields) will not arrive soon enough to benefit everyone. Many people are too old, or suffer from other conditions that will kill them before cures can be developed. This is an unpleasant reality that we must face.
Do we just write these people off and forge ahead regardless? Of course not. Instead, we turn to the science and business of cryonics, a serious effort to solve this problem that has been underway since the early 1970s.
Cryonics was in the news throughout 2003 and early 2004, largely thanks to the cryopreservation of baseball star Ted Williams and the ensuing high profile family fight over his will. This publicity led to local government efforts to regulate the cryonics industry, first in Michigan and then in Arizona, where the two largest cryonics providers are based. A new cryonics research group made headlines in Florida at the end of 2003, when the cryonics community rallied to try to prevent an unfavorable zoning ruling against the business. In the years since, the cryonics industry has enjoyed a higher profile in the media than before, and a greater public understanding of the core mission and science has resulted.
What is Cryonics?
Cryonics is the only option for life extension open to many older and seriously ill people: those who cannot wait for the promised therapies of the next few decades. It is the science of placing humans and animals into a low-temperature, biologically unchanging state immediately after clinical death, with the expectation that advances in medical technology may eventually enable full restoration to life and health. A small industry of cryonics providers exists to freeze or vitrify your body on death, in the hopes that future scientists (most likely using nanotechnology and nanomedicine) will be able to revive and repair you.
The practice of cryonics is an ongoing medical experiment with an unknown chance of success. Responsible cryonicists understand that cryonic suspension is an educated gamble. The chances are certainly better than zero, however, and as one wag noted, "the control group in this experiment isn't doing so well." By this, he was referring to the vast number of people who are cremated, buried or otherwise interred. The chances of any plausible future science restoring them is zero. Cryonic suspension is, after all, only the second worst thing that can happen to you.
The cryonics community is tightly knit, friendly and supportive. The community, and the industry it supports, have been ever-so-slowly growing since the early 1970s. To find out more about cryonics, you might want to peruse the following locations:

In addition, an excellent article on the philosophy and practice of cryonics can be found here: