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Hacking the Brain and Nervous System

The claimed discovery of a new organ and one larger than any other known organ is flabbergasting. I personally believe that acupuncture works (for me, a one-day cure of a 6 months problem some years ago), and this new finding finally gives credence to why it works.

The Interstitium, the Largest Organ We Never Knew We Had

My interest in brain hacking has grown since my concussion journey, which made clear to me just how sensitive yet “plastic” the brain is. See for example the discussion of tDCS and PoNS in my Concussion Recovery Phase 2 page.

Here’s a fascinating example of “brain hacking” which like tDCS and PoNS uses electricity.

In Electrical Pulses and Neural Code Boost Memory Storage:

By artificially replicating the neural firing involved in correct memory formation, researchers improved memory by 35 percent.

Researchers have figured out how to strengthen the storage of new memories in the human brain using electrical stimulation and neural patterns that were previously used to store other memories.

In case that sentence didn’t get stored properly in your own brain, we’ll say it another way: Scientists now have the power—using electrical impulses—to improve storage of new information in the human brain.

The report, published last week in the Journal of Neural Engineering, is the first to crack the neural codes linked to specific, individual memories in the human hippocampus, says Robert Hampson, a professor at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center, who co-authored the report. The research is one of several approaches that could one day lead to “brain prostheses” to fill in for lost memory.

Add in other technologies like a cold laser for nerve stimulation as well as ultrasound to stimulatiespinal nerves for controlling pain and the vagus nerve for epilepsy and depression, and the future of brain and nervous system hacking looks very promising for reversing debilitating conditions.

Like anything else, technologies can be misused: erasure and alteration issues, memory destruction, etc are all ethical issues that arise.

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