Allow global access to high-quality brain preservation as an option rapidly after death
Published in Organisations.
Brain preservation is a procedure for carefully preserving and protecting the information in a person’s brain at death, for an indefinite length of time afterward. The ultimate goal of preserving someone’s brain is to give them a chance at revival in the future. It is premised on the assumption that the memories and other psychological attributes that many people feel define them are stored in the intricate physical and informational structure of a human brain.
Brain preservation is also premised on the hope that future civilization will eventually progress to the point where it is feasible, sustainable, and humane to reconstruct either a valuable record of a person’s life memories, or if possible, their fully self-conscious identity, from their preserved brain. Whether or when such future events will ever happen is unknown. But we believe modern neuroscience suggests that these are reasonable ideas.
In 2016, the Brain Preservation Foundation Prize was awarded for a scalable technique that – for the first time – demonstrably preserved the key features of brain structure that neuroscientists know are involved in learning and memory.
Our best current models suggest that carefully preserving the pattern of connections within the human brain, i.e. our “connectome,” alongside essential biomolecules that regulate those connections, will allow the retention and later automated reconstruction of unique and valuable information about a person’s identity, including their long-term memories. This future might sound like science fiction, but this hypothesis is taken seriously by many neuroscientists today. Great progress is currently being made in the preservation, scanning, and emulation of neural connectivity today, and there is no scientific consensus that such a procedure is hopeless in principle.
We recognize that the prospect of revival is uncertain and that no one knows today what conditions the future will bring. But we do not think these are valid reasons to deny access to a procedure that has value today for the people who desire it.