Brains on ice: The Aussie man planning to live forever
When Philip Rhoades' parents died he put their brains on ice. Journalist SHERELE MOODY finds out what he plans to do with his own body after death.
IN an ideal world, Philip Rhoades will die peacefully and pain-free, his body will be put on ice and he will be brought back to life in a time when illness does not exist and people live forever.
And when he does come back, the cryonics expert will have his deceased mum and dad for company.
After Gerald and Dorothy Rhoades died in May of 2016, Philip placed their brains in a commercial cryogenic facility - the kind that stores animal semen for artificial insemination and human eggs for IVF.
Philip froze his parents' brains because it only costs about $35,000 to keep each organ for perpetuity compared to $200,000 each to have their bodies frozen, transported and stored in cryonics facilities overseas.
"The key thing is being able to download the information in the brain," Philip said of keeping his mum and dad's neurological remains on ice.
"In the case of a neural archive, we're not concerned about reviving the body's cells, we're concerned with the neural architecture that has the information in it.
"It's likely that we will be able to in the next 10 or 20 years be able to extract that information with high-resolution brain scans.
"We'd then dump the information into a super computer."
When a cryonics candidate dies, a team of medical experts prepares them for transport to a storage facility by stabilising their body, packing it with ice, lacing the blood with an anti-coagulant and feeding oxygen to the brain.
When the body arrives at its final destination the blood is drained and the water in the cells is replaced by a liquid "anti-freeze" that ensures the organs and tissues do not shatter when ice crystals form during the freezing process.
The body is then cooled by dry ice to minus 130 degrees before being placed in a protective body bag and lowered, head first, into a metal tank filled with liquid nitrogen that is kept at minus 196 degrees.
Bodies are stored upside down to ensure the brains are the last thing to thaw if the tank leaks.
While Philip could only afford to freeze his parents' brains, he hopes to have his entire body put on ice for re-animation "as soon as possible" but he acknowledged he could be waiting around for quite a while.
"Trying to revive a whole human being is a difficult operation," he said of the process that some scientists say won't work because of the damage extreme temperatures cause to human cells.
"If you're getting a cryonic suspension then the intention is that modern scientific technology will allow the body to be thawed out, completely revived and rejuvenated so you look like you're 25 and you feel like you're 25 again.
"Life is too short - it shouldn't be three score and 10 years, it should be thousands of years."
Philip hopes he does not get Alzheimer's disease like his father had in the years before he died.
If he does end up with the same illness, Philip is considering what he calls "pre-mortal suspension" before the dementia renders him unable to make his own decisions.
His plan is to end his own life while connected to machinery that will prepare his body for the cryonics process.
Philip is currently working on a way to remove the need for human intervention when he dies and the process of initiating the cryonic state because of the potential legal implications for anyone seen to be assisting in his death.
"It will involve technology that will drain my blood, undertake the automatic perfusion and all of that," Philip said.
- ARM NEWSDESK