MIND TRANSPLANT: DO WE?
Suneet Sood, Professor of Surgery, UiTM, Shah Alam, Selangor, Malaysia
Prashant Upadhyaya, Consultant in Pediatric Surgery, Dehra Doon, India
Prof Matah Ari is Indonesia’s leading neuropathologist. She delivered an important speech last December,1 which we bring here. We are unable to reprint her slides, but she has kindly provided the references. The speech is edited, to convert the spoken word to the written, and much shortened.
Philosophers think that we exist because we think -- cogito cogito ergo cogito sum, but from where have we always cogitated, or have thunk if not Latin?
Historically, the seat of Homo sapiens’ intellect has moved cranially, virtually from the seat itself. Early Europeans, broody people living in Denmark’s hamlets, thought that unhappiness emerged from the gall bladder.2 They coined the term “melancholic”, meaning “of black bile”. Happiness could be induced by chemical means, and was termed “albacholic” – “of white bile”. Aristotle taught that the heart was the mental engine, the brain its coolant. Galen discovered the venous rete mirabilis (“mesh wonderful”) in animal brains, presumed that humans had one too, and declared “Thought starts here!”3 Later Avicenna wrote “Canon of Medicine”, in which he destroyed several neurological misconceptions. His work was plagiarized by a weak man from Mycenaea, Gravis Seroxxus, who copied the “Canon” and changed its name to Yeuletpakaddes.4 Most scholars now agree that the brain controls us, though a corpus of men still believes that control originates lower down. Between 1850 and 1900 Broca, Brodmann, and others identified areas in the brain specialized for hearing, language, and so on,5 but were unable to determine where all the information was stored.
In 1900 Bekhterev proved that memory resides in the hippocampus, after observing hippocampal lesions in forgettable persons. (He also diagnosed Stalin with paranoia, but forgot to keep this secret, and was slain by the General Secretary.6) Bekhterev’s sheep experiments confirmed a. the relationship between memory and animal size: “larger ram = more memory” and b. the existence of three types of memory: “the Russian Troika” (Table 1)
For years we wondered, is long-term memory electrical or chemical? My colleague, Sfingkkes, from Thebes in Greece, used to ask all he met the questions: How is information stored? Can it be harnessed? We call these the Sfingkksian riddles.8 The answers are now known because of three recent events: the discovery of the “memory molecule”, the invention of the machine which reads this molecule, and the algorithm that stores the data logically.
Three recent events
In 2004 Borgia discovered that cantarella, a kJones-specific poison, destroyed its tertiary structure, reducing the binary code to a string of zeros.17 Borgia named this procedure “formatting”. In 2005 Calvin and Hebbes joined my team, and developed the Transmogrifier that could reapply stored information on cantarella-formatted hippocampal IRA. In 2006 we were able to: a. store the memes from hippocampal slices, b. format the tissue, and, c. apply micropotentials to the IRA to return the identical binary code to the slices. We had luck in progressively bigger hippocampal slices, till we used intact mice. After transmogrification, the intact mice remain in suspended animation until physically struck. We found this by accident, when several failures with intact mice so drove us to frustration that a junior colleague threw his shoe at the mouse, which woke immediately. We now use the booting up technique regularly, albeit with the judicious use of a small gavel, not shoe.
In 2007 we autotransplanted mice memes. We used adult, knowledge-naïve, Moose Riverdale mice. Undergraduate mice were exposed to Bush’s shock-foot-get-cheese training model18 till they acquired postgraduate status. Controls received cheese without training. After formatting and transmogrification, test mice recovered their postgraduate status, while controls remained undergraduate. Next, we repeated the experiments, using cross-transmogrification. Our results, as yet unpublished, were as expected: undergraduate mice became postgraduate, and vice versa. We have also conducted early stress studies, using the restrain-mouse-show-female technique.19 We could transplant stress from stressed mice to stressless mice, showing that emotion too is transplantable. Thus, what was initially considered a mere brain transplant may actually be a mind transplant.
The FDA has not yet allowed clinical studies. Nevertheless, clinical experiments are taking place in China, Cuba, and some African states, where ethical restrictions are tenuous. Rumor has it that several aging but influential politicians are now demanding for their minds to be transplanted into young criminals who are to be executed.