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Current Brain Knowledge

  1. Jun 12, 2010 #1
    I am interested in building replacements for every single body part and bodily function, (with a sort of non biological replacement, more electrical and mechanical.) in order to support the brain. I know that the brain is the least understood body part, but my wonder is just how understood is it? If actuators controlled by brain signals were to be made, how far from knowing which areas of the spinal cord that could control such actuators, (be they artifical muscle or actual motors!) are we?
    I ask because if we are so far from such a thing that it would be impractical for me to study appropriate fields enough to reach such a goal, then I would choose another goal, such as physics or engineering power systems, which I like slightly more. If it is not impractical, or even already achieved, (I have searched online but have not found anywhere that says such progress) then I would find it MUCH more worth my time studying biomedical engineering, and whichever appropriate fields required to achieve the goal I mentioned above.

    Preserving the brain itself is another story, I believe it will require nanotechnology, but I know the least about that. Any comments on that would be great.

    Thanks,
    Jonny

    PS:
    If I have not worded the above well enough, then I will explain it simpler: Is it achievable in my lifetime (I am 18) to build a completely non-biological replacement body to support the brain, and perhaps even other systems to prevent the brain itself from degrading?
     
    Last edited: Jun 12, 2010
  2. jcsd
  3. Jun 13, 2010 #2
    Very, very badly!
    The problem is little big than you think, even individuals genetically identical can have differences in phenotype. So there is no universal answer to your question.
    Technical questions can be deterministic, on the matter of your question, the history is a little more complicated. To achieve the goal that you wish, still need a lot of science to map uncharted ground, so no one can say if this is possible in your lifetime or yours grandsons.

    Nanotechnology is how a simple cell works, the enzymatic protein work isn’t completely know, even for the smallest simplest cell.
    Best,
    Alex
     
  4. Jun 13, 2010 #3
    Not a chance in hell. The current understanding of the brain is minimal, and replication of the tissue would alter you. Brains in a box require a fundamental leap in the understanding of neurology, or a "cheat", as in a blue-box and a "copy" function. there is nothing about nanotechnology that promises to preserve the brain beyond repairing damage, or encouraging new growth. You are not going to have some kind of nano-scaffolding for your brain while we still can't isolate the causes of basic disorders. The brain is complex, almost beyond belief, and there is debate as to whether it is a classical or quantum computer, as it goes.

    Nanotech, or more likely, bioengineering may extend your life, repair damage, and enhance the brain, but making you a new one would require a clone, with a brain, and it still would not be YOU.
     
  5. Jun 13, 2010 #4
    I didn't mean to make a new brain, I just imagined nanobots swarming around the brain preventing it from degenerating, or replacing damaged areas, stuff like that.
     
  6. Jun 13, 2010 #5
    Still more scifi, than actual science.
     
  7. Jun 13, 2010 #6
    It isn't unthinkable, but within the lifetime of anyone currently breathing? That is probably science fiction.
     
  8. Jun 13, 2010 #7
    Well thanks everyone, it appears what I want is not reachable in my lifetime, so this would make me not so favorable of the bio/medical field (so far)

    EDIT:
    Well, could there be some process/test done before hand to then determine the neural paths of that person along the spinal cord? I realize these are very far fetched ideas but there must some way, hopefully understandable in my lifetime.

    If so, that really sucks.
     
    Last edited: Jun 14, 2010
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