141 Essays on Infinite Lifespans   Brian Wowk measured by the number of people involved and the scien- tific acceptance of the field, cryonics remains a fringe practice. Why? Probably because by operating as it does, cryonics is perceived as interment rather than medicine. One organiza- tion, the Cryonics Institute, is even licensed as a cemetery. It advertises that professional morticians deliver its services (as if this is an endorsement?). Dictionaries now define cryonics as ‘freezing a dead human’. Is it any wonder that cryonics is unpopular? It is a failure by definition! Is  this  view  biologically  justified?  In  the  1980’s  another cryonics organization, the Alcor Life Extension Foundation, adopted a different approach to cryonics. Under the leadership of cardiothoracic surgery researcher, Jerry Leaf, and dialysis technician, Mike Darwin, Alcor brought methods of modern medicine into cryonics. Alcor sought to validate each step of their  cryopreservation  process  as  reversible,  beginning  with life  support  provided  immediately  after  cardiac  arrest,  and continuing through hours of circulation with blood replace- ment solutions. Leaf and Darwin showed that large animals could  be  successfully  recovered  after  several  hours  at  near- freezing temperatures under conditions similar to those in the first hours of real cryonics cases. [25] Blood gas measurements and clinical chemistries obtained in real cryonics cases fur- ther demonstrated that application of life support techniques (mechanical CPR and heart-lung machines) could keep cry- onics subjects biologically alive even in a state of cardiac arrest and legal death. [26] This  leaves  cryonics  today  in  an  interesting  situation. It  is  stigmatized  as  something  that  cannot  work  because the subjects are legally deceased. Yet under ideal conditions the  subjects  are  apparently  alive  by  all  measurable  criteria, except heartbeat. At the start they are biologically the same as patients undergoing open heart surgery, legal labels notwith- standing. The cryopreservation phase of cryonics is of course