The cyborgs are coming! Living brains implanted with electronic chips to replace ‘faulty’ parts by Rob Waugh Last updated at 3:20 PM on 17th January 2012
The Terminator: Real cyborgs will be less scary – the researchers think that the technology could help people suffering from brain malfunctions such as Parkinson’s disease – by replacing damaged or malfunctioning tissue with chips. Faulty parts of living brains have been replaced by electronic chips, in an astonishing and controversial scientific breakthrough. It’s a move that has been anticipated many times in science fiction, with creatures such as The Terminator, a ‘cyborg’ hybrid of flesh and machinery.
But now, researchers at Tel Aviv University have successfully created circuits that can replace motor functions – such as blinking – and implanted them into brains.
They hope the technology could in the future help people suffering from brain malfunctions such as Parkinson’s disease – by replacing damaged or malfunctioning tissue with chips that perform the same function.
‘Imagine there’s a small area in the brain that is malfunctioning, and imagine that we understand the architecture of this damaged area,’ said Professor Matti Mintz, a psychobiologist, speaking to the BBC.
‘So we try to replicate this part of the brain with electronics.’
Mintz has already successfully implanted a robotic cerebellum into the skull of a rodent with brain damage, restoring its capacity for movement. However, anti-vivisection campaigners have described the experiments as ‘grotesque’.
‘Imagine there’s a small area in the brain that is malfunctioning, and imagine that we understand how it works. We try to replicate this part of the brain with electronics,’ said
The cerebellum is responsible for co-ordinating movement, says Mintz. When wired to the brain, his ‘robo-cerebellum’ receives, interprets, and transmits sensory information from the brain stem, facilitating communication between the brain and the body. To test this robotic interface between body and brain, the researchers taught a brain-damaged rat to blink whenever they sounded a particular tone. The rat could only perform the behavior when its robotic cerebellum was functional. According to the researcher, the chip is designed to mimic natural neuronal activity.
‘It’s a proof of the concept that we can record information from the brain, analyze it in a way similar to the biological network, and then return it to the brain,’ says Prof. Mintz, who recently presented his research at the Strategies for Engineered Negligible Senescence meeting in Cambridge, UK.
In the future, this robo-cerebellum could lead to electronic implants that replace damaged tissues in the human brain.
‘This type of research raises enormous ethical concerns, let alone the poor animals whose lives are wasted on dubious and ego-driven experiments,’ Jan Creamer, CEO of the National Anti-Vivisection Society, in an interview with the BBC.
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Please help those who did not consent (like dissidents and activists which likely is the reason why some repressive regimes are now letting prisoners out), by restoring all natural lab regrown cerebellums or portions. This is the most cruel thing that can be done to any person who did not give consent or had any desire to be altered in a non-organic manner. Cyborgs are for children who do not know the implications or military warriors on a suicide wish . . . some of us though would prefer to set up families and not become mechanical pariahs. Combined with cellphone or satellite activation, the likelihood of Orwellian levels of mind control becomes very likely. COmbined with psychiatric medication, control becomes absolute.
High-speed brain mapping will ‘let us understand autism and schizophrenia’ By Anna Edwards Last updated at 1:43 PM on 16th January 2012
Neuroscientists have developed a brand new way of making detailed images of whole brains.
A team at Cold Spring Harbour Laboratory have transformed the way the images can be made, normally the preserve of highly specialised research groups who have to go through a painstakingly slow process.
They have created a mechanical system of taking sections of brain samples, taking images of them one after the other and at precise angles in two-photon microscopes.
Exciting discovery: The new brain mapping will allow scientists to study diseases without a painfully slow wait
Led by Associate Professor Pavel Osten, the group of scientists from New have revolutionised whole-brain mapping, after performing experiments on mouse brains.
Prof. Osten says what is truly exciting is that now, using the new technology, researchers can study schizophrenia and autism.
The new technology, developed in concert with TissueVision of Cambridge, Massachusetts and reported on in the laboratory’s website, is called Serial Two-Photon Tomography, or STP tomography.
Tomography refers to any process – like CAT scans – that images an object section by section, by shooting penetrating waves through it.
Breakthrough: After experimenting mice brains, the scientists have discovered a way to take images and place them together to make a 3D image
Using computers the results produce a three-dimensional image, while two-photon imaging can be used to highlight specific cell types, allowing deeper optical penetration.
Prof Osten’s team reported on CSHL’s website that the new technology is much more sensitive and has many uses and already mature enough to be used in projects.
They tested the tool at different levels of resolution and claim they can get a full set of data about the brain they are studying within 6.5 to 8.5 hours, a huge improvement on current waiting times.
‘The technology is a practical one that can be used for scanning at various levels of resolution, ranging from 1 to 2 microns to less than a micron,’ Prof Osten said.
Scans at the highest resolution level take about 24 hours to collect. Using methods currently in use, it would take an experienced technician about a week to collect a set of whole-brain images at high resolution, he noted.
‘What is most exciting about this tool is its application in the study of mouse models of human illness, which we are already doing in my lab,’ Osten says in the report.
The team can begin to study ‘susceptibility genes’ that appear in brains with schizophrenia and autism, paving the way for improved study into the devastating conditions.
Here’s what other readers have said. Why not add your thoughts, or debate this issue live on our message boards.
There are gross physical brain changes in mental illnesses, such as hippocampal atrophy and ventricular enlargement seen in the negative syndrome of schizophrenia. Hopefully, this advance will be able to pinpoint physical changes at the level of individual cells, such as the GABAergic Purkinje cell losses seen in autism. I have Asperger’s syndrome and have studied the pathogenesis of non-communicable diseases for many years, including schizophrenia and autism. This research has produced many interrelated novel hypotheses regarding causation.
– William Davidson, Strathaven, UK, 17/1/2012 10:55
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By reports and corroboration of events, strongly believe that this technology is already being used in 3rd world countries. Dissidents and activists are typical targets. Effects as reported can range from strokes to heart attacks to any other effects – with the drawback that bio-spiritual feedback occurs whenever this is used. The physical body of all people are linked to the ether and astral, and unnatural effects caused in implants result in corresponding effects in the bio-mind/earth consciousness network that all humans are linked to. In other words, spiritual effects from implants affects more than that single person. Implants are not holistic and thus very dangerous to mankind’s collective consciousness or – the akhasic.