Brain Death Not As Fast and Irrevocable As Previously Thought. Quandaries.

Scientists Are Giving Dead Brains New Life. What Could Go Wrong?

In experiments on pig organs, scientists at Yale made a discovery that could someday challenge our understanding of what it means to die.

If one can restore activity to individual post-mortem brain cells, what stops from restoring activity to entire slices of post-mortem brain?

This led to the revival of pigs’ brains, hours after their death. So far the revival has been deliberately kept at a low level, with a number of tricks. The long and fascinating article is in the New York Times.

There is an even worse ethical quagmire: HUMAN mini-brains. A (partial) solution there maybe NON-human mini-brains… But HUMAN cancer is one thing one can study well in human mini brains… Some of these cancers no doubt caused by the 180,000 untested human made chemicals out there. Verily, we are in a human made scifi swamp of thorny possibilities…

Once the fluid — the present form of which includes antibiotics, several brain activity reducers, and nine different types of cytoprotective agents — is ready, the brain is lowered into a plastic case the scientists have nicknamed “the football” and connected via the carotids. A small thermal unit (a miniature air-conditioner and heater) sits under the football, controlling the temperature of the organ; the pressure and speed of the perfusate, meanwhile, are governed by a type of pump. With a dull whir, the fluid begins to circulate across the arteries, capillaries and veins of the brain in a loop, exiting on each circuit through a dialysis unit that “cleans” any waste products and through a filter that removes any naturally occurring bubbles… with an automated “pulse generator,” a device that replicates the heartbeat’s pulsatility in the organs… attached to a number of custom sensors.

On 17 April 2019, Nature said: Part-revived pig brains raise slew of ethical quandaries. Researchers need guidance on animal use and the many issues opened up by a new study on whole-brain restoration…”

Yes, well, who is to provide that guidance? Professional academics, without debate outside of their closed hushed societies?

How do we know who is the wisest?

180,000 untested chemicals out there, devastating life and humans… And we worry about pig brains, dead four (4) hours prior? Here is what I sent to the New York Times:

Progress is good: it augments happiness, reduces pain. For example anesthetics have revolutionized the management of pain. no ethics board is going to come and complain that pain has been hurt by anesthetics.

Life extension is good. Life extension is even necessary, because life extension means also widom extension, ultimately. 

Hence there is a very good civilizational reason for fostering ll and any research on life extension, from life of a little finger, to life of an entire brain. Without more advanced wisdom, civilization, let alone society as we know it, will not survive. 

Once some of this brain reanimation techniques are more advanced, practical and at the ready, they will be used after accidental, or battlefield, death. There are no ethics in the way.

And, as I said, there are very good ethical reason to fight for older brains, which have seen more. Some will whine at all imaginable problems it could cause. But any progress brings problems not seen before, and the more progress, the more problems, because the more brainwork. 

The fact remains that brain resuscitation, when it becomes practical will, and should be used, and further advanced. It’s not just excellent science, it’s excellent ethics and philosophy. By fostering it we demonstrate, not just that we are smart, but ethical in the most human way: that of survival and advancing curiosity. We also demonstrate we are attached to human minds, cherish and value them, and we spite a fate we have not chosen.

Cherish souls, but then demonstrate it with great efforts to save them!

Patrice Ayme

 

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2 Responses to “Brain Death Not As Fast and Irrevocable As Previously Thought. Quandaries.”

  1. Gmax Says:

    Some say death is good because the wicked die. What say you?

    Like

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