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April 19, 1965


JAMA. 1965;192(3):246-247. doi:10.1001/jama.1965.03080160066018

Extreme cold has long been recognized to have potent effects on the human body. Although observed in the past, the effects of freezing human tissues were not translated into therapeutic possibilities. Baron Larrey, for example, reported the distinct division between frozen and unfrozen tissues, remarking that "the gangrene is circumscribed, and a line of separation formed between the dead and the living parts."1 Current researchers have used this phenomenon, which is even more prominent when freezing is the result of supercooling, in techniques involving many different parts of the body.

Now ophthalmologists are using supercooled freezing techniques as a satisfactory method for extraction of the crystalline lens affected by cataract.2 Bellows reports that, with carbon dioxide as the cooling material, the lens can be extracted by freezing no more than the capsule, at the area of contact, and the lens substance lying immediately underneath it. Ice crystals form