Chemical brain preservation
Chemical brain preservation is the proposed process of using aldehyde fixation for long term storage of a brain with the intent of future revival. It would be considered an alternative or adjunct to cryonics.
The Brain Preservation Foundation is offering the Brain Preservation Technology Prize in order to promote research and development in the field. As of March 2015, the prize is valued at $106,840.
Vascular perfusion of a brain with chemical fixative agents followed by a plasticizing agent is one possible approach. This plastic embedding is widely used to study small sections (<1mm2) of human and animal brain tissue under laboratory conditions.
It is unclear at present how much of the mind can be rescued from a preserved brain, irrespective of the preservation techniques used. Pioneers of this new technology might have themselves preserved based on the reasonable assumption that at least some of the information that defines their mind is preserved, and that technology will continue to progress, and at some point in the future, procedures will be developed that allow the information which defines the mind to be separated from the "noise" caused by present day preservation efforts.
A potential but unverified (in humans) alternative to physical revival of the brain is digital emulation of the biological computation process of the brain. The preserved physical brain could potentially be scanned by special microscopes, and then the relevant structure is re-created as a computer model, which could then "run" to recreate the biological process of thinking. (This is also known as a brain simulation). Theoretically, this concept of having a digital copy of the brain may potentially facilitate "repair" of the damage to the physical specimen due to age or the preservation process. However, just like physical revival, emulation of a complete human mind is still in a highly speculative state typically served by science fiction writers and philosophers.
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