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View Diary: Going Foreward with Brain Imaging Should Include a New "Neuroethics" (47 comments)

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  •  a reasonable question (5+ / 0-)

    Many neuroscience researchers have expressed similar skepticism.  The comments section of this blog post illustrate some of the issues being discussed in the field.

    As I mentioned above, a lot of this mapping business is already going on in the private sector.  It may or not be the most cost-effective way to understand brains, but it is coming, and the public is not paying for much of it.  The data are pouring in now, but it remains unclear if all these data interesting.  The question for the the government science agencies is how to best use the new maps to do something bold and  worthwhile for brain science and medicine.

    Some of the ongoing controversies in the mapping projects involve arguments about which models are most informative.  If we wish to build a tiny flying machine that can maneuver around a room like a fly, then a fly brain might be a good model for a control system.

    However, in my opinion, the big questions about human brain science and medicine are not well-addressed by simpler animal models.  We are unique because of our huge cerebral cortex.  Figuring out how that part of the brain works brings us closer to not only understanding Alzheimer's, Schizophrenia, etc--it also brings us into the realm of what makes us human.

    Luckily, the cerebral cortex, the largest part of our brain, is organized into repeating layers of neurons.  Understanding how these carbon-based circuits store and retrieve memories might, in the future, lead to silicone circuits based on biological principles.  And that is pretty darn cool.

    All forms of fundamentalist thought breed magical thinking.

    by YankInUK on Sat May 11, 2013 at 03:45:04 PM PDT

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