If the brain is a supercomputer these would be its hacks.
The real final frontier isn’t in outer-space or inner-particle. It’s in the space between mankind’s ears. That strange, mysterious and awesome mass of gray matter is more powerful and creative than any supercomputer. But science wants to make it even better and, if these 15 experiments are any indication, it might just succeed…
1. Scientists Hope To Record Our Dreams After Successful Experiments Using Brain Implants
A group of scientists, known as the Caltech team, can attach electrodes to your brain that lets you move a mouse cursor with your thoughts. Dr. Cerf, with the California Institute of Technology, figured out how to let users “think” images on and off of a computer screen. As this elk of mind-signal reading technology evolves, the day will come when even your dreams aren’t safe from spying eyes.
2. Hyperscanning Brain Experiment: Evaluating Human Trust with Money Game
The money game works like this: you start as either an “investor” or a “trustee”. If you’re the investor, you’re given $20 to spend. You can either give the money to the trustee – triggering the moderators to award the trustee with an extra $40 on top of the $20– or keep the $20 yourself. The next round the roles are reverse and the former trustee can either return the favor or keep all of the money himself. The Human Neuroimaging Laboratory at Baylor College of Medicine uses this money game, along with brain scanning fMRI machines, to literally measure and quantify trust levels each player has for the other as the game progresses.
3.Experiment on brain cells of singing birds
Every season, song birds lose some of their brain cells. The cells that allow the birds to learn songs commit suicide only to be replaced by newly grown cells. This is interesting because brain cells aren’t supposed to be regenerative, and these so-called precursory cells are native to the bird brain. The entire process exists only so the birds can learn new songs.
4.Using immature cells from the brains of mammals to replace dead or dying human adult cells
This is related to the “song bird secret’, except applied to the human brain. We don’t need to regenerate brain cells to learn new songs, but we do need a cure for Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s disease. Recent experiments show that dead brain cells in mice (which are mammalian like us) can be regenerated with immature brain cells. The implications are exciting, one day we might even be able to rebuild the entire brain from scratch.
5.The Suda Experiment: ECG Recording Using Perfused Cat Brains and Glycerol
Professor Isamu Suda, of Kobe University in Japan, is renowned for devising a cryonics methodology right out of Tales from the Crypt. Basically, the Suda technique involves deep freezing a live cat brain and then thawing it back out. What’s interesting for cryobiologists is that, using the Suda technique, electrical brain waves can be detected (via EEG). This can either mean that the brain isn’t killed by the deep freeze (which is a common criticism of cryonics) or that Suda is a lunatic (which is a common criticism of professors).
6.Brain Experiment: Drinking like Crazy to Activate Hangover Brain Molecule
This is a strange study: scientists ran an experiment b y giving the C. elegans worm small doses of alcohol to track the affects of withdrawal. They learned – no surprise here –that giving the worms more alcohol eased withdrawal symptoms. They also learned – with a much bigger surprise – that there’s an actual “hangover molecule” that can be quantified in the recovering brain
7.Scientists create Mice with Human Brain Cells
Fred Gage and is crew of researcher at the Salk Institute in San Diego are trying to create a real-life Splinter. (Remember him, from Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles?) Gage’s team has successfully injected mice – which are genetic twins to humans, having a 97.5% similarity – with human brain cells. The injection was marginal (a mere 0.1% increase) but in the future, who knows?
Gage’s breed of man/mice lab creations are known as chimeras, not unlike the geep (half-goat, half-sheep) or mule (half-ass, half-horse). Interestingly, the use of chimeras… even for scientific research into diseases… is an ethical and legal powder keg. Jeremy Rifkin clearly demonstrated this when he applied for a patent for animal-human chimeras in 1997. His patent was refused, citing issue with the resulting creature being “too human”.
8.Robot powered by rat’s brain in bizarre British experiment
But if you ask me, chimeras are fine as long as the human contribution is minimal. On the other hand, robots controlled by rat brains… now, that’s an abomination if I’ve ever heard of one. The Brits are behind studies which consist of attaching a chunk of rat brain to a robot to see if it moves. The creepy part is that it does move. The scientists are in the process of “teaching” the robot, as if it was an animal being trained.
9.Brain Experiments of CIA to Create the Perfect Soldier
The Perfect Soldier (almost) existed, and he would’ve been American. During the Cold War, the CIA was busy hacking away at the human brain, implanting electrodes with the aim of creating robot-like killers. The robo-men would be easy to control, mentally superior and without a smidgen of remorse or emotion… the perfect soldier. Research notes on the experiments remain classified.
10.Dissecting and Cementing Marmoset’s Brains
Scientists crack open the marmoset’s scull, vacuum out swaths of brain tissue to cause visual blind spots, and then cement the skull shut. Weeks pass. The marmoset is strapped to an EEG machine to track brain activity, before being brought in the back and unceremoniously killed. If the experiment doesn’t seem cruel enough, here’s a cherry on top: the research gained is virtually useless, since human brains and marmoset brains are completely different.
11.Brain Experiment Using Salamanders: The Spemann-Mangold Experiments
German scientist Hans Spemann and Ph.D candidate Hilde Mangold take the proverbial cake for strange brain experiments. In their momentous study, the brain of a live salamander was extracted and divided into sections. The remainder as dropped back into the still-living salamander body… and the salamander would jump up and go about its business. Spemann and Mangold would also conduct studies involving splitting salamander embryos in two and injecting parts of one half into the other… just to see what would happen.
12.Brain Preference Experiment Using Coke and Pepsi
If you adamantly prefer Coke, then you’ve been brainwashed… and one test in particular proves it. A group of testers were given unlabeled samples of both Pepsi and Coke and asked to drink; not a single tester could tell the difference between the two. The same test was repeated, this time revealing the labels, and three out of four chose Coke. What’s interesting is the Coke label activated parts of the brain (memory, self-image and cultural knowledge) that the Pepsi label didn’t.
13.Mindreading Experiments: How Brain Records Memories
The hippocampus is an obscure section of the brain where memories are recorded, dreams are created and steps are navigated before they are actually taken. Scientists have always believed that the information created in the hippocampus was sporadic… until now.
New experiments held at University College London reveal a way of deciphering hippocampus activity, resulting in a crude system for “reading” thoughts. The system works by scanning the brain as each subject navigates a simulated reality; the resultant data reveals exactly where the subject was in the simulated reality at any given time.
14.Thomas Edison’s Magnetic brain experiment using a Young Boy
Thomas Edison picked a boy off the street and ran electromagnetic fluctuations directly through is brain to research effects. This was completely normal and ethical behavior to Edison. I won’t comment on that… but I will say that we should be glad Edison didn’t use his famous “10,000 tries to find 1 solution” approach he used on the light bulb.
15.The Split Brain Experiments
Roger Sperry is the godfather of brain experiments. Back in the 60’s Sperry figure out that the right half of the brain does very different things than the left side. In a nutshell, the left hemisphere is analytical/rational and the right hemisphere is conceptual/emotional. Sperry gave us this insight through experimentation, and won a Nobel Prize in the process.