Dismiss Notice
Join Physics Forums Today!
The friendliest, high quality science and math community on the planet! Everyone who loves science is here!

Medical Could you make two brains

  1. Sep 11, 2005 #1
    Could you make two brains- for example, a mouse's- compatible with each other, via genetic engineering or something?

    Thanks
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Sep 11, 2005 #2

    hypnagogue

    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

    What do you mean by 'compatible with eachother'?
     
  4. Sep 11, 2005 #3
    I was asking that question in regards to what somebody said, which was this:

    It seems obvious to me that no two minds would be compatible, and that this kind of forced connection would just result in a clash in which both minds would be degraded, if not destroyed. You are assuming that information automatically accumulates whereas it actually often conflicts.

    You've also ignored the emotional component, which is brain-based, in the diencephalon. Imagine the havoc it would create in your mind to suddenly have a second, but equally powerful, emotional reaction to everything occuring on top of your native one. Trying to sort them out would paralyse you, or drive you insane.

    they said that in regards to me asking about brain physically connecting up to another brain via genetic engineering

    Somebody said that with genetic engineering (The type I was talking about) you could repattern the two tissues so that they integrate
     
    Last edited: Sep 11, 2005
  5. Sep 12, 2005 #4

    LURCH

    User Avatar
    Science Advisor

    I don't think two brains could be "made" physically compatible. If this could be done, the problem of tissue rejection in transplant recipients would be solved. So, just like transplant patients, you would probably have to find two brains that are compatible, rather than trying to make them so. This could perhaps be accomplished through cloning (sellect two mice that are monozygotic twins). This, of course, would do nothing to reduce the other problems involved.
     
  6. Sep 12, 2005 #5

    hypnagogue

    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

    NeedBioInfo, you're still being terribly vague. Could you describe exactly what you mean by making two brains compatible with eachother? Compatible in what way, exactly?
     
  7. Sep 12, 2005 #6
    Identical, I guess. I guess I'm asking if it would theoretically/hypothetically be possible to make two brains/minds identical to each other, (physically and/or pyschologically) and if so, how.

    Thanks
     
  8. Sep 12, 2005 #7

    hypnagogue

    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

    I'm not sure what making a duplicate of a brain has to do with making two brains compatible with eachother. Whatever it might mean to make two brains compatible with eachother, it doesn't seem to have anything to do with creating identical copies. Are you sure that's what you meant to say?
     
  9. Sep 12, 2005 #8
    well basically.....I wanted to know about making two MINDS (Not necessarily brains) identical to each other

    thanks
     
  10. Sep 13, 2005 #9

    somasimple

    User Avatar
    Gold Member

    Hi,

    Minds are expressions of brain functioning. You cannot separate minds from the physical reality of cells => neurons/glia cells
     
  11. Sep 13, 2005 #10
    Could you make the physical reality of cells- neurons/glia cells- identical to each other in two or more different brains then?

    Thanks
     
  12. Sep 13, 2005 #11

    somasimple

    User Avatar
    Gold Member

    similar perhaps in 3/5 decades, identical, never!
     
  13. Sep 13, 2005 #12
    About the above comment:

    How similiar, though?

    Thanks
     
  14. Sep 13, 2005 #13

    hypnagogue

    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

    This could topic could fill a whole other thread, but the above isn't necessarily true. To the extent that minds are characterized by abstract computational processes, we could build certain kinds of non-biological computers that could plausibly be said to have minds. For instance, in theory we could build a silicon-based robot with a complex CPU taking in lots of information from the environment, processing that information with high-level cognitive functions analogous to memory, attention, decision making, and so on, and then behaving coherently and intelligently in the world on the basis of that data processing. That would inarguably constitute a mind qua complex, computational, cognitive processing unit without needing biological cells. Of course, if by "mind" we mean to include consciousness, the picture gets muddier and it's no longer clear (at least, given what we know now) whether our robot has a mind qua conscious entity.
     
  15. Sep 13, 2005 #14

    Moonbear

    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

    I've learned two important things in science :wink:. First, never say never. Second, don't try to estimate a time frame for something you just don't know how to do. But, that said...

    NeedBioInfo, I think the main point being made here is that what you are asking about is so far beyond our current knowledge of neuroscience as to be unanswerable, unless you are asking if we can do it right now, in which case, the answer is no. I would, however, lean toward the view that there would be so many variables that would need to be controlled in trying to create two identical brains/minds (whether or not you consider them one and the same) as to make it highly unlikely it would ever be accomplished, and even more likely that anyone would be able to provide sufficient justification for experiments to try it.
     
  16. Sep 13, 2005 #15

    somasimple

    User Avatar
    Gold Member

    Hi,
    The natural complexity of brain (number of cells) and the natural number of changing connections every second brought this affirmation! Twins are similar but not identical.

    Exact brain cloning is thus impossible.
     
  17. Sep 14, 2005 #16

    somasimple

    User Avatar
    Gold Member

    This statement is valid for human beings (and certainly all conscious living things?) Mind is the result of cells which are functionning so mind exists only if cells exist.

    Thinking machine are possible for sure.
     
  18. Sep 14, 2005 #17

    Moonbear

    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

    That's a large leap in logic there. Just because it doesn't naturally occur in twins doesn't mean it's impossible, unless you're talking about the current state of technology. It is impossible NOW, but will it ever become possible? I don't know. I wouldn't bet the house on it, but I wouldn't be a complete naysayer either. There's simply no way to know where technology could lead in the future. Yes, there are a HUGE numbers of variables that would need to be controlled for, but many things have been said to be impossible that became possible.
     
  19. Sep 14, 2005 #18

    somasimple

    User Avatar
    Gold Member

    Hi,

    I shall stay at my position because:
    1/ the number of cells involved.
    2/ the number of connection that exist between these cells.
    3/ education.

    You'll get a divergent solution.
     
  20. Sep 15, 2005 #19

    hypnagogue

    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member


    :uhh:

    If you were alive not too long ago, you might have argued that man will never fly. Certainly no one is saying that making a close replica of a brain would be easy, or even that it's likely to happen. But if you were more educated on this subject of forecasting what will be possible tomorrow based on what we know today, you wouldn't be so confident. Given the exponential growth of technology and knowledge, it's probably true that civilization a mere 100 years from will have advanced so much as to be largely unrecognizable to us as we stand today. Give humanity a few million or even billion years to continue at that pace, and the smart move is not to put all your chips against virtually anything being possible.
     
  21. Sep 15, 2005 #20

    somasimple

    User Avatar
    Gold Member

    Well it is just a mathematic/probability/physics explanation

    A brain consists appproximately of 50,000,000,000 cells
    Each cell has 1,000 to 30,000 connections and some of these ones are changing every second. (# combinations! :rolleyes: )
    Every signal may change because a neuron is able to add/subbstract ions channels changing the speed/intensity of signal.

    If a single cell over 50,000,000,000 changes one connection thus the system diverges.

    If only a little breeze/touch/event is perceived differently by two identical brains that is the end of your exact/identical brains.

    they will diverge at the first second in my view!

    But Man do not fly (by himself) sorry! :biggrin:
     
    Last edited: Sep 15, 2005
  22. Sep 15, 2005 #21

    Moonbear

    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

    The question didn't specify a species. In mice, that number would be considerably lower, around 100 million cells and only 75 million of those are neurons. If instead we tried this with Drosophila, it would get even simpler.

    And there is ongoing research to understand what determines this synaptic plasticity. All that number of combinations suggests is that it's improbable, not impossible.

    But it remains only your view or opinion. What if identical twins, or clones, were to be raised in a highly controlled environment in order to prevent anything different being experienced between the two? Technically, incredibly difficult, and not possible now. And if you claim they will diverge in the first second, then there would be one second in which they are identical. The question didn't require we manage to maintain it for long. Realistically, is anyone going to bother trying? No. And I highly doubt it will ever be done or happen, but that doesn't mean it would be impossible. "Impossible" is a dangerous word to use, and should be avoided, simply because you cannot know the answer with that much certainty.
     
  23. Sep 15, 2005 #22

    somasimple

    User Avatar
    Gold Member

    MoonBear,

    Even with 100 cells, it would be impossible because the underlying processes that regulate a cell have to be exactly the same in the clones. It is actually impossible to have two exact/identical cells that function excactlly in the same way.
    A neuron "fires" with ions channels and they work with probabilities. An axon have 300/3000 ions channels/µm². Trying to say that an indentic behaviour may happens when its basic functionning is based upon random things is weird.
     
  24. Sep 16, 2005 #23

    Moonbear

    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

    Why do you think it's random? I think it just means we don't understand enough yet to know what reason there is for the variation. For example, I know of a group that is working on ion channels in olfactory cilia, and are already developing models predicting the numbers of ion channels AND their position. The experimental results are fitting the predictions pretty well, so that would indicate ion channel numbers and gradients are not a random process if you can develop models that work.

    Your assertion is overly definite when too little is known to make such a conclusion. Impossibility can only be claimed if you've already identified every variable, controlled for all of them, are 100% certain there are no other variables left, and still do not get the predicted outcome. You're basing your claims on things like differences in clones, but that's such a brand new technology (on the relative scale of technologies) that it would be premature to say some of the epigenetic factors can't be controlled for yet. People thought the entire idea of cloning of mammals was impossible not all that long ago, and the same for in vitro fertilization. I know I'm arguing semantics, but it's not a trivial issue to be precise in your language when dealing with science.
     
  25. Sep 16, 2005 #24

    somasimple

    User Avatar
    Gold Member

    Well,

    the distribution of ions channels is made randomly (they stick to the membrane if they find a place).
    We know that some of them have failures every day but are replaced.
    Do you know exactly when and where it will happen? It will change in the instant the firing pattern and message.

    Can you say that the failure may happen at the same place and at the same time in the same cell? Just compute the probability of a such event!

    You know also that ions penetrate through membrane in some unique patterns ion/water or water/ion and it will dramatically change the internal computation of the activation of the other neighbour ones.
    Have we a chance to know if an Na ion or K ion is at the good place for an incoming in the channel? No because, we can't really predict the place of an atom.

    Too much variables, too much events, too much chance to have a divergence.
    It is exactly the same with the butterfly effect.
     
    Last edited: Sep 16, 2005
  26. Sep 16, 2005 #25
    Is Moonbear trying to say/imply that maybe things aren't as random as you think they are? (In regards to what you're talking about) Because if that's what he's trying to say then your last post didn't appear (to me) to respond to that...
     
Share this great discussion with others via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook