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August 7, 1972

Freezing of Human Bodies

Author Affiliations

Departments of Surgery and Pathology University of Miami School of Medicine Miami, Fla

JAMA. 1972;221(6):598. doi:10.1001/jama.1972.03200190042011

New developments in the field of medical research sometimes go unnoticed and lie dormant for a number of years or are rapidly translated into clinical practice. At times, sound laboratory findings gain popularity outside of medical circles and, mainly through misinterpretation, attempts are made by the layman to translate the findings into practical applications. This seems to be the case with some aspects of cryobiology.

Periodically, attention is given in the popular press to various organizations associated with the "cryonics" movement, which advocate freezing of dead human bodies rather than burying them in a customary fashion. The bodies are being frozen with a promise of an indefinite preservation, the procedure justified by a statement that, even if resuscitation from the frozen state will not be possible in the future, there is nothing to be lost by subjecting a body to freezing rather than burial. The point about "nothing to lose"