Growing a brain

American scientists have succeeded in growing a brain in the lab. Well, something that kind of looks like a brain. Considering that close to nothing is known about how the brain functions you better don’t have high expectations of this kind of research.

The researchers have grown an “unconscious brain”, the size of a pea. But what on earth is an unconscious brain? That sounds like a 3-years old who made a car from F0OHNKKH82U0YC4.LARGELego and fantasizes that it’s the real thing. That’s OK for a toddler, but you would think that scientists have outgrown that stage. But basically they have just replaced the Lego with fancy equipment, while their brains have got stuck in childhood. Yes, the pun was intended, because my brain decided to write that. Or was it me? And can I be me without my brain? Could I get a new brain and still be me? Oh wait, I think I’m going a bit too fast in proving that we know close to nothing about the brain and never will know a lot more than what we know now. Our brains are way too limited to understand themselves.

6709516-3x2-340x227The model brain was created from adult skin cells. Does that sound like it might work? When a sperm and egg meet they create a new human being, first one cell and quickly multiplying to many cells. All those cells seem to be identical, but somehow they know that one needs to become a brain cell and another a muscle cell, a kidney cell, a liver cell, or whatever. Nobody has remotely any idea how this process works. So taking skin cells and then making an unconscious brain is fancy, well paid playing, but nothing more than that.

The big mistake these scientists make is that they treat the brain like it were a muscle. Get all the cells in place and it will work. This approach is silly, amateuristic and childish and at the same time particularly arrogant. Not a great combination. When I read about this kind of research I always wonder if these researchers take themselves seriously, but I fear they do. The data of the research process are still secret, but “will become publicly available after we complete our invention disclosure process”. Invention? That sounds indeed a lot like they are making toys. Humans don’t need to invent the brain, for that has already been done for us, long ago.

Of course this fancy playing is justified saying that it will be helpful for research for Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease. Well, I can give the researchers some information, and it’s not secret, but publicly available: it’s already known what causes Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s and treatments are already available, often with 7c7756040b7325041d1586c93a8c434d_how-to-train-your-creative-brain-580x326_featuredImagegreat success. And when the cause is known the prevention is not hard to find. Considering that these diseases were very rare or non-existent 150 years ago the cause is with 100% certainty in the environment. And it’s really not so hard to understand that long-term, multi-generational exposure to large amounts of neurotoxins will cause neurological diseases.

The article ends with some babbling about all the other areas of research this unconscious brain would be good for. But it all sounds really pathetic. They try to reinvent the wheel, but their copy is bent, with broken spokes and a flat tire. But these people get no doubt handsomely paid for being stupid and so they will probably remain stupid forever. And that’s how trillions of dollars are wasted every year. Medical research produces hardly any useful results. And that’s not strange when all the researchers keep themselves stupid and blind, just to keep the money flowing.


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