Wednesday, 24 December 2014

This open letter by the folks at the Brain Preservation Foundation was quite stirring, and pretty succinctly described why preserving dying people is beneficial,  and feasible with current technology.

As an aside, I learned from the letter that there are surgical procedures that stop all brain and circulatory activity in a patient and yet the patient can recover with their memories intact. This suggests that what makes us us can be preserved by a structural copy of the brain.

We choose brain preservation over natural decay because we accept the current scientific consensus that our unique conscious self is generated by processes within our physical brain. Further, we accept that all the memories, skills, and personality traits that make us unique are hardwired into the physical and molecular connections among our brain’s hundred billion neurons. Such a structural basis of memory and personality is demonstrated by the fact that surgical patients are often put into a state of Profound Hypothermia and Circulatory Arrest (PHCA) in which all patterned brain activity is halted for up to a full hour, yet these patients revive with memory and personality completely intact. The structural basis of memory and personality – the synaptic connectivity between neurons – can be preserved essentially perfectly by today’s chemical fixation and plastic embedding techniques. Extrapolating from current technologies for the nano‐imaging of plastic embedded brain tissue, we believe that one day science will have advanced sufficiently to allow complete retrieval of memories from such a preserved brain. 

No comments:

Post a Comment