In today’s rapidly evolving world, it seems that miracles no longer belong to fairy tales, and are in fact getting more and more within our reach. Earlier this year, we moved one step closer to perhaps being able to bring people back from the dead, after a deceased woman in China was cryogenically frozen for the first time.
Zhan Wenlian, 49, died of lung cancer in May. Her husband, Gui Junmin, volunteered her body for the ‘life preservation project’, with the hopes that she might be brought back to life by advanced technologies in the future. Gui says he and his wife were against cremation, and had both planned to donate her body to science after her death to ‘give back to society’. Gui told the Mirror:
Wenlian’s body now rests face down in a giant tank filled with 2,000 litres of liquid nitrogen, at Yinfeng Biological Group (YBG) in Jinan, East China. The experimental project is a collaboration between YBG, Qilu Hospital Shandong University, and a US non profit called Alcor Life Extension Foundation.
What is Cryonics?
Cryonics is the process of rapidly cooling the body of a person who is near death or deceased, to temperatures so low that they can be preserved for decades or even centuries – in the hopes that future medical technologies will be able to restore them to full health. A special cocktail of chemicals are used to prevent the body from actually freezing, as the formation of ice crystals in the body causes irreversible cell damage.
The moment Zhan’s heart stopped beating, the 55-hour procedure began. Her body will remain in stasis at negative 196 degrees celsius (negative 321 degrees fahrenheit), until the scientists behind the project decide in future to attempt restoration of Zhan’s life. Jia Chushend, director of YBG, says that ‘Zhan and her family are clear about the risks and the possibility that the procedure might ultimately fail.’
And while there is no evidence that people will one day be able to be revived, the project gives hope to Gui and his wife for the future. He noted that he also wishes to be cryogenically frozen when he dies because, ‘If my wife wakes up, she might be lonely. I need to keep her company.’