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Ethics debate as pig brains kept alive without a body

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boo_star    401



Researchers at Yale University have restored circulation to the brains of decapitated pigs, and kept the organs alive for several hours. 

Their aim is to develop a way of studying intact human brains in the lab for medical research.

Although there is no evidence that the animals were aware, there is concern that some degree of consciousness might have remained.

 

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-43928318

 

These include whether such brains have any consciousness and if so deserve special protection, or whether their technique could or should be used by individuals to extend their lifespans - by transplanting their brains when their bodies wear out.

 

Or sticking them in jars a la Futurama?

 

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Buttus    1,211
16 minutes ago, boo_star said:

 

Or sticking them in jars a la Futurama?

 

or 'The man with two brains"

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Unobscured Vision    2,678

Unlikely at the current level of scientific understanding. Severe brain damage (such as severing the spinal cord at the base of the lower brain) in any higher-functioning animal will result in brain death. Brain death is defined as the state which nearly all neural activity has ceased -- and damage like this, whether by accident or dissection, is no different anatomically. Those neural connections are severed, the brain receives no peripheral signals from the organs it'd otherwise control, and shuts down.

 

Like a CPU connected to a mainboard. Northbridge/Southbridge, UEFI/BIOS, Peripheral sockets, etc. Everything has to at least send a signal back to the control software/hardware, otherwise nothing works, and vice-versa. Sometimes that board can lose a component here and there and it'll still function, or even a section of the CPU. Lose too much or something in the wrong place and nothing will work.

 

Likewise with a brain. There are safeguards "built-in" to avoid trauma, even with animals. Call it a "BIOS", but that's how Science is discovering that brains work. Bioelectric-based circuitry and software, every bit as complex as a computer -- more so, even.

 

We haven't reached the point where we can repair brain damage yet. Until we do, all of the bright ideas with the experimentation should be left alone IMO. All we're doing is making people uncomfortable.

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shockz    6,024
2 minutes ago, Unobscured Vision said:

We haven't reached the point where we can repair brain damage yet. Until we do, all of the bright ideas with the experimentation should be left alone IMO. All we're doing is making people uncomfortable.

With that type of thinking, we'll never be able to repair what you're suggesting. These types of experiments are what will pave the way to a better understanding of how to do so.

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+warwagon    13,203
2 minutes ago, Unobscured Vision said:

Unlikely at the current level of scientific understanding. Severe brain damage (such as severing the spinal cord at the base of the lower brain) in any higher-functioning animal will result in brain death. Brain death is defined as the state which nearly all neural activity has ceased -- and damage like this, whether by accident or dissection, is no different anatomically. Those neural connections are severed, the brain receives no peripheral signals from the organs it'd otherwise control, and shuts down.

 

 

My question is can everyone's brain run the same code? If we extract the stuff in your brain and put it in my brain (memories and stuff) can i decode it? Or does everyone have their own secure Eonclave.

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Buttus    1,211
29 minutes ago, warwagon said:

My question is can everyone's brain run the same code? If we extract the stuff in your brain and put it in my brain (memories and stuff) can i decode it? Or does everyone have their own secure Eonclave.

just write down your brains encryption key before you die....

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DocM    16,615

Check this out...

 

Hello, Johnny Mnemonic

 

https://www.technologyreview.com/s/513681/memory-implants/

 

Quote

 

Memory Implants

 

A maverick neuroscientist believes he has deciphered the code by which the brain forms long-term memories.

 

Theodore Berger, a biomedical engineer and neuroscientist at the University of Southern California in Los Angeles, envisions a day in the not too distant future when a patient with severe memory loss can get help from an electronic implant. In people whose brains have suffered damage from Alzheimer’s, stroke, or injury, disrupted neuronal networks often prevent long-term memories from forming. For more than two decades, Berger has designed silicon chips to mimic the signal processing that those neurons do when they’re functioning properly—the work that allows us to recall experiences and knowledge for more than a minute. Ultimately, Berger wants to restore the ability to create long-term memories by implanting chips like these in the brain.

>

Berger and his research partners have yet to conduct human tests of their neural prostheses, but their experiments show how a silicon chip externally connected to rat and monkey brains by electrodes can process information just like actual neurons. “We’re not putting individual memories back into the brain,” he says. “We’re putting in the capacity to generate memories.” In an impressive experiment published last fall, Berger and his coworkers demonstrated that they could also help monkeys retrieve long-term memories from a part of the brain that stores them.

>

 

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Unobscured Vision    2,678
1 hour ago, warwagon said:

My question is can everyone's brain run the same code? If we extract the stuff in your brain and put it in my brain (memories and stuff) can i decode it? Or does everyone have their own secure Eonclave.

Theoretically? Yes. Memory and experiences determine personality. Those memories and experiences are what makes us "us", uniquely. At the "hardware" and "basecode" level, we're all more-or-less the same, and our brains all operate according to identical parameters +/- some ranges according to our bodies' needs.

 

What science is attempting to discover now, and is discovering in portions, is the "basecode programming" at the genetic and neural levels because the two are different. The prevailing theory right now is that the subconscious is where the conscious and neural basecode interact at. There've been some instances with people having ischemic events where they become consciously aware of autonomic functions taking place (breathing, heartbeat, etc.) -- they become aware of the parallel "talkback" that is going on in the subconscious.

 

Consider also that we're learning how to program DNA and RNA, and we have a "hobbyist level" degree of aptitude in it by comparison. We're just now getting a handle on it. Who knows where that'll be in 25 years, 50, 100? In order to read the source code of the body and the brain which would allow us to do some of the things that Medical Science is really after we would need a Doctorate-level of understanding (no pun intended).

 

It's interesting stuff, but super complex.

 

[EDIT] So to the other half of your question: Sure, memories can theoretically be implanted and decoded, but without the context they wouldn't always make sense. At the worst (and this is a bit of projection on my part), someone else's memories in someone's head can cause confusion, nightmares (perceptibly), mental instability, etc. Not that you'd want ME inside your head (because remember, memories and experiences MAKE people!) lmao ... ;) :rofl:

Edited by Unobscured Vision

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branfont    218

NEW HAVEN, Conn. (CBS Local) – Has science gone too far? That’s the question some experts are asking after Yale University researchers announced that they have successfully reanimated a pig’s brain, which had been severed from its body.

 

The Details:

 

  • Yale researchers say they have reanimated the decapitated brain of a pig
  • Scientists were able to keep the brains active for up to 36 hours
  • The research is raising ethical questions about restoring consciousness after death

 

 

 

 

Full article @ CBS Pittsburgh

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Jim K    13,744

//merged

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