January 17, 2013

Mind Uploading/Downloading is closer than you think

There were some amazing discoveries last year by MIT scientists that show in fact are memories are stored in specific networks of neurons. Previously it was only postulated but now there is definitive proof.

In 2011 researchers from MIT discovered the  Npas4 gene, that controls the formation of memories; without Npas4, you cannot remember anything. MIT has successfully bred mice without the Npas4 gene.

 The MIT researchers made this discovery by triggering small clusters of neurons in mice causing them to recall specific memories. When they would remove these neurons the mice would then lose those specific memories.

Optogenetics Neuron
To accomplish this the researchers bred genetically engineered mice with light sensitive neurons that could be triggered by  pointing  the laser at the cluster of neurons via a hole drilled in the mice's skull

In order to show that a specific memory was triggered the mice were administered an electric shock to create a memory of fear. Later when the cluster of neurons were triggered the mice went into a a defensive posture showing the fear memory was triggered

What still needs to found out though is HOW memories are encoded into neurons. Like how exactly a cluster of 100,000 neurons creates the memory of an elephant. There has been some work done in this area on the Optic Nerve Psychology is primarily the science how WHY their are encoded and how they affect us.

Still a little ways off from the envisioned future of brain downloading and uploading but getting a hell of a lot closer

For further reading on Optic Nerve research go here

The article was a summary of Extremetech.com

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