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US cryonics founder dies, has body frozen
by Staff Writers
Washington (AFP) July 25, 2011

Robert Ettinger, founder of a movement that advocates storing bodies at ultra-low temperatures after death until new technology allows them to be revived, has died and his body frozen at the institute he founded, his family said Monday.

Ettinger died on Saturday at his home in Clinton Township, Michigan and "has been frozen at the Institute," a statement sent to AFP by Ettinger's son David said.

The Cryonics Institute, which Ettinger founded in 1976 as a "non-profit organization that could freeze and store patients at death" has more than 900 members around the world and "106 patients in storage," the statement says.

Born in 1918, Ettinger went public with his theory of cryonics in 1964 with the publication of his work "The Prospect of Immortality."

In the book, he contends that "at very low temperatures it is possible, right now, to preserve dead people with essentially no deterioration, indefinitely.

"If civilization endures, medical science should eventually be able to repair almost any damage to the human body, including freezing damage and senile debility or other cause of death," he said in the book.

"No matter what kills us, whether old age or disease, and even if freezing techniques are still crude when we die, sooner or later our friends of the future should be equal to the task of reviving and curing us."

Ettinger's keen interest in the life-saving promise held by future medical technology was sparked, according to the statement, by the years he spent in hospitals after he was seriously wounded in combat in World War II.

"His legs were saved as a result of then innovative bone graft surgery. That sparked Mr. Ettinger's interest in the promise of future medical technology," the statement says.

New editions of "The Prospect of Immortality" are in print or in the planning stage in South Korea, Taiwan and China.

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Brain chip sought to drive paralyzed limbs
San Diego (UPI) Jul 25, 2011 - Three U.S. universities were given grants to study sensorimotor neural engineering that would allow the brain to communicate with prosthetic or paralyzed limbs.

San Diego State University is one of the schools sharing an $18.5 million National Science Foundation grant to research chips that could be implanted in the brain to send signals to a prosthetic or paralyzed limb, giving it the full dexterity of an undamaged hand or leg, The San Diego Union-Tribune reported Sunday.

Sensors in the limbs would return signals to the brain, sending sensations of heat and cold or recognizing changes in texture, researchers said.

The five-year grant will be shared between SDSU, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and the University of Washington.

"NSF always pursues research at the leading edge," foundation spokesman Josh Chamot said. "We're taking proposals that look forward, that could lead to entirely new concepts and technology, entirely new fields. But the fact is that the people who built up this team already have research that shows they can accomplish these goals."

Scientists say the research could lead to commercial products to help wounded veterans, people with spinal cord injuries and those with neurological disorders.

"It's like the Six Million Dollar Man, the bionic man," said Kee Moon, a mechanical engineering professor who will lead SDSU's team.

"We hope, at the end of 10 years, to be able to implant a device on the brain to drive a prosthetic device in a way that the information goes both ways -- from the brain to the device and the device to the brain," he said.

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Genetic research confirms that non-Africans are part Neanderthal
Montreal, Canada (SPX) Jul 22, 2011
Some of the human X chromosome originates from Neanderthals and is found exclusively in people outside Africa, according to an international team of researchers led by Damian Labuda of the Department of Pediatrics at the University of Montreal and the CHU Sainte-Justine Research Center. The research was published in the July issue of Molecular Biology and Evolution. "This confirms recent f ... read more

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