Sunday, April 27, 2014

News You Can't Use: Scientists Have Built an 'Off Switch' for the Brain

One of humanity's most cherished dreams has always been devising a way to turn off the brain. From the development of alcohol and performing trepanning operations with rocks to first person shooters and talking phones the long war against the brain is the scarlet thread running through the human experience. For all these efforts, thought and awareness have proven worthy foes, defeating one new pacification technology after another. However, we may be finally seeing the victory in the long war against consciousness and volitional actions. 

Scientists have developed an “off-switch” for the brain to effectively shut down neural activity using light pulses.

They call it "television." I mean, am I wrong? Haw haw haw.

In 2005, Stanford scientist Karl Deisseroth discovered how to switch individual brain cells on and off by using light in a technique he dubbed 'optogenetics'.

You've got to wonder what sort of childhood produces a man whose life's work is switching off brain cells, but chooses to do it with "optogenetics" instead of, say, "Bud Lite."

However, light-sensitive proteins were efficient at switching cells on but proved less effective at turning them off.

I already know how to turn the damn thing on! I want my mind eraser!" 

Mr Deisseroth’s team has now re-engineered its light-sensitive proteins to switch cells much more adequately than before. His findings are presented in the journal Science.

It's hard to imagine something as amazingly adequate as this technology. I'd go so far as to call it the apotheosis of mediocrity. 

Thomas Insel, director of the National Institute of Mental Health, which funded the study, said this improved “off” switch will help researchers to better understand the brain circuits involved in behavior, thinking and emotion.

The current level of understanding is still limited to ranting about "you humans" and our "stupid minds." 

Also, there's plenty of non-evil applications for this. No, seriously.

We’re excited about this increased light sensitivity of inhibition in part because we think it will greatly enhance work in large-brained organisms like rats and primates.

And by "primates" we mean various "disappearance" cases that we use to test this amazing brain annihilation technology. 

“It creates a powerful tool that allows neuroscientists to apply a brake in any specific circuit with millisecond precision, beyond the power of any existing technology,” Mr Insel explained.

This is not the neurological equivalent of "bro science," he added. 

Stanford University Neurologists battle the "ghoul apocalypse."

This technique could help scientists develop treatments for patients with some brain diseases as it could allow problematic parts of the brain to be switched off with light and tackled with minimal intrusion.

...and let's just shut off those parts that don't properly love Big Brother...

Merab Kokaia, PhD, a professor at Lund University Hospital in Sweden who has used optogenetics to study epilepsy and other conditions praised the research.

Come on everybody, let's praise the research! Yes, I can feel the spirit of materialism moving through you!

These features could be much more useful for behavioral studies in animals but could also become an effective treatment alternative for neurological conditions where drugs do not work, such as some cases of severe epilepsy and other hyper-excitability disorders," he said.

"Just keep looking into the "calm lights" and you'll be a good citizen in no time."

Komment Korner  

Old news. The brain "off" switch is why Democrats exist.

Mine has been turned off for years.

Where can I buy one for my wife.

Why not find the ON button for the majority of sleepwalking Americans?

Those Seljuk race who slayed 1.5 million Armenians ...and still they deny...!and Why...! 

Check Out My Books!

Aaron Zehner is the author of "Posts from the Underground," now available in paperback and e-book. Read a free excerpt here.

His first novel The Foolchild Invention is also available in paperback and e-book format. Read free excerpts here and here.

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