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Can you live forever?? Seriously


wade.daniel.w
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Epilepsy is "excessive, abnormal, or synchronous" brain activity. This does not mean that constant and widespread activity is excessive or abnormal.

 

The point is that many people think that parts of your brain just sit there and do nothing. This is untrue: you do not have 95% of your brain lying fallow and available for other purposes (e.g., like backing up your memory, as if the brain were a hard drive with damaged sectors).

 

While it is true that structures in the brain like the hypothalamus, basal nuclei, hippocampus, etc., probably cannot be repurposed, large parts of the cortex are subject to pretty rapid reassignment. If you go blind tomorrow and start learning braile, a chunk of your visual cortex will end up reassigned to interpreting the patterns you detect with your index finger.

 

All of it gets used.

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Actually I recall that someone removed quite a sizable amount of the prefrontal cortex of mice or rats without seemingly harming them in a very obvious way. However subsequent test revealed that they were deficient in quite a number of way with regards to memory function, reflexes and generally higher cognitive functions. Also there was a famous report about a guy who had a metal bar through his head due to an accident. While it did quite some damage it did not kill him. However his personality changed markedly. In other words, while large regions in the brain are not crucial to viability, they do fulfill functions.

Edited by CharonY
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Also there was a famous report about a guy who had a metal bar through his head due to an accident. While it did quite some damage it did not kill him. However his personality changed markedly. In other words, while large reasons are not crucial to viability, they do fulfill functions.

 

Just a supplemental post... an FYI to readers... Charon is referring to Phineas P. Gage.

 

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Phineas_Gage

 

 

An amazing and real story which taught us much about the human brain, its structure, and its abilities.

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hypothesis: it would work if done correctly and can eventually be encorperated to keep people alive by replacing there bodies with manufactured one (I know it sounds like something out of a sci fi movie but when considering this it is not that far fetched or beyond impossiblilty)

 

the body repares itself, just find a way to make it repair itself indefinately. wouldnt that work?

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Interesting idea, but not much fun living as a brain in a jar. I haven't got the best body in the world, but I'm quite attached to it. Also, forgive me for being overly negative, but whilst I believe there are ways to extend lifespans, afterall that's what medicines do, and there's some pretty exciting work with telomeres in c.elegans - live forever just sounds too good to be true - like 'get rich quick' - it'll never happen. Every generation has their own potion, lotion, idea for eternal youth, an elixir of life, but unless you are about to celebrate your 250th birthday, all 'live forever' ideas are doomed to failure. I would love to be proved wrong and eagerly await that time.

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Actually I recall that someone removed quite a sizable amount of the prefrontal cortex of mice or rats without seemingly harming them in a very obvious way. However subsequent test revealed that they were deficient in quite a number of way with regards to memory function, reflexes and generally higher cognitive functions. Also there was a famous report about a guy who had a metal bar through his head due to an accident. While it did quite some damage it did not kill him. However his personality changed markedly. In other words, while large regions in the brain are not crucial to viability, they do fulfill functions.

 

There are extreme disorders in which half the brain fails to develop, or must be surgically removed early in childhood. Even with half a brain, the person generally is able to do everything an intact human can. This sometimes requires extra training and time, but the brain is capable of shifting functions around. However, this is not to say that there is no difference... Again, I have to recommend "The Brain That Changes Itself" by Norman Doidge for anyone interested in this kind of stuff.

 

Phineas Gage is often cited as the first example of a lobotomy. IIRC, he was pretty bad-tempered before the accident, and much ... calmer afterwards. This was the inspiration for the neurosurgical procedure (pre-frontal lobotomy), which could be performed by inserting a long needle upwards through the eye socket, severing the connections betwen the prefrontal lobes and the rest of the brain with a few swipes. Unfortunately, those doctors failed to follow up on Gage's later life: he was utterly unable to make plans, handle money, etc., and died a very unhappy man.

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Have a look at the following:

 

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Turritopsis_nutricula

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hydra_(genus)

 

The former is a jellyfish, and the latter "is a genus of simple fresh-water animals". What's interesting is that both of them are considered biologically immortal. Now, I doubt we could get the brain to revert to a polyp state, so I guess it doesn't have much to do with the OP, but given the thread name I'm hoping it's not completely out of place :)

 

Cheers,

 

Gabe

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