Nanotechnology coming to a brain near you ----------------- Bulletin Message ----------------- From: *Galactic Consciousness* Date: 28/02/2008 From: Musicians Say No! To Bush World Order. AKA Red.
Date: 28/02/2008

There are always options for misuse of technology ... while were battered with the "Pros", the "Cons" are going on all the while, as we by now know ... here is a little something on Nanotechnology ... again we see the dark side at work ... this accompanied by the "Microchip Implant" could create total control ...

From ...

""Much of the confusion, however, comes from the scientists and engineers themselves, because they apply the name “nanotechnology” to two different things—that is, to two distinct but related fields of research, one with the potential to improve today’s world, the other with the potential to utterly remake or even destroy it. The meaning that nanotechnology holds for our future depends on which definition of the word “nanotechnology” pans out. Thus any understanding of the implications of nanotechnology must begin by sorting out its history and its strange dual meaning."" Check it ...

In case you needed any more evidence that science and technology are racing ahead faster than our ability to understand the implications and prepare for responsible governance, read this ...

""A team of world-leading neuroscientists has developed a powerful technique that allows them to look deep inside a person's brain and read their intentions before they act.

The research breaks controversial new ground in scientists' ability to probe people's minds and eavesdrop on their thoughts, and raises serious ethical issues over how brain-reading technology may be used in the future.

The team used high-resolution brain scans to identify patterns of activity before translating them into meaningful thoughts, revealing what a person planned to do in the near future. It is the first time scientists have succeeded in reading intentions in this way.

"Using the scanner, we could look around the brain for this information and read out something that from the outside there's no way you could possibly tell is in there. It's like shining a torch around, looking for writing on a wall," said John-Dylan Haynes at the Max Planck Institute for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences in Germany, who led the study with colleagues at University College London and Oxford University.

The research builds on a series of recent studies in which brain imaging has been used to identify tell-tale activity linked to lying, violent behaviour and racial prejudice.

The latest work reveals the dramatic pace at which neuroscience is progressing, prompting the researchers to call for an urgent debate into the ethical issues surrounding future uses for the technology. If brain-reading can be refined, it could quickly be adopted to assist interrogations of criminals and terrorists, and even usher in a "Minority Report" era (as portrayed in the Steven Spielberg science fiction film of that name), where judgments are handed down before the law is broken on the strength of an incriminating brain scan.

"These techniques are emerging and we need an ethical debate about the implications, so that one day we're not surprised and overwhelmed and caught on the wrong foot by what they can do. These things are going to come to us in the next few years and we should really be prepared," Professor Haynes told the Guardian."" Read More

Nanotechnology coming to a brain near you

(Nanowerk Spotlight) If you have seen the movie The Matrix then you are familiar with 'jacking in' - a brain-machine neural interface that connects a human brain to a computer network.
For the time being, this is still a sci-fi scenario, but don't think that researchers are not heavily working on it. What is already reality today is something called neuroprosthetics, an area of neuroscience that uses artificial microdevices to replace the function of impaired nervous systems or sensory organs.

Different biomedical devices implanted in the central nervous system, so-called neural interfaces, already have been developed to control motor disorders or to translate willful brain processes into specific actions by the control of external devices. These implants could help increase the independence of people with disabilities by allowing them to control various devices with their thoughts (not surprisingly, the other candidate for early adoption of this technology is the military).

The potential of nanotechnology application in neuroscience is widely accepted. Especially single-walled carbon nanotubes (SWCNT) have received great attention because of their unique physical and chemical features, which allow the development of devices with outstanding electrical properties. In a crucial step towards a new generation of future neuroprosthetic devices, a group of European scientists developed a SWCNT/neuron hybrid system and demonstrated that carbon nanotubes can directly stimulate brain circuit activity.

Examples of existing brain implants include brain pacemakers, to ease the symptoms of such diseases as epilepsy, Parkinson's Disease, dystonia and recently depression; retinal implants that consist of an array of electrodes implanted on the back of the retina, a digital camera worn on the user's body, and a transmitter/image processor that converts the image to electrical signals sent to the brain; and most recently, cyberkinetics devices such as the BrainGate™ Neural Interface System that has been used successfully by quadriplegic patients to control a computer with thoughts alone.
Thanks to the application of recent advances in nanotechnology to the nervous system, a novel generation of neuro-implantable devices is on the horizon, capable of restoring function loss as a result of neuronal damage or altered circuit function. The field will very soon be mature enough to explore in vivo neural implants in animal models.

"We developed an integrated system coupling SWCNTs to an ex vivo reduced nervous system, where a mesh of SWCNTs deposited on glass acts as a growing substrate for rat cultured neurons" Dr. Maurizio Prato and Dr. Laura Ballerini explains to Nanowerk. "We demonstrated that neurons form functional healthy networks in vitro over a period of several days and developed a dense array of connection fibers, unexpectedly intermingled with the SWCNT meshwork with tight contacts with the cellular membranes.

Ballerini, an associate professor in Physiology, and Prato, a professor in the Department of Pharmaceutical Science both at the University of Trieste, Italy, are also involved in the European Neuronano project, an advanced scientific multi-disciplinary project to develop neuronal nano-engineering by integrating neuroscience with materials science, micro- and nanotechnology. The Neuronano network's major aim is to integrate carbon nanotubes with multi electrode array technology to develop a new generation biochips to help repair damaged central nervous system tissues.

"For the first time, we show how electrical stimulation delivered through carbon nanotubes activates neuronal electrical signaling and network synaptic interactions" says Dr. Michele Giugliano, a researcher at the Brain Mind Institute at the Ecole Polytechnique Federale de Lausanne in Switzerland. He is one of Ballerini's co-authors of their recent paper "Interfacing Neurons with Carbon Nanotubes: Electrical Signal Transfer and Synaptic Stimulation in Cultured Brain Circuits". "We developed a mathematical model of the neuron/SWCNT electrochemical interface. This model provides for the first time the basis for understanding the electrical coupling between neurons and SWCNT."

Over the past few years, there has been tremendous interest in exploiting nanotechnology materials and devices either in clinical or in basic neurosciences research. However, so far the interactions between carbon nanotubes and cellular physiology have been studied and characterized as an issue of biochemical mechanisms involving molecular transport, cellular adhesion, biocompatibility, etc. These new findings boost scientists' understanding of interfacing the nervous system with conductive nanoparticles, at the very fast time scale of electrical neuronal activity which in mammals determines behavior, cognition and learning.

"Recently, the Neuronano research group pioneered the exploration of carbon nanotubes as artificial means to interact with the collective electrical activity emerging in networks of vertebrate neurons" says Giugliano. "Biocompatibility of carbon nanotubes has been shown in the literature and several groups recently have attempted coupling neurons to carbon nanotubes to probe or elicit electrical impulses. However, specific considerations of the electrophysiological techniques that are crucial for understanding signal-transduction and electrical coupling were underestimated."

The researchers achieved direct SWCNT–neuron interactions by culturing rat hippocampal cells on a film of purified SWCNTs for 8–14 days, to allow for neuronal growth. This neuronal growth was accompanied by variable degree of neurite extension on the SWCNT mat. A detailed scanning electron microscopy analysis suggested the presence of tight interactions between cell membranes and SWCNTs at the level of neuronal processes and cell surfaces

"With regards to the technological processes involved in the SWCNT deposition on glass, the chemical processes we previously developed and used in this work is the only one effectively employing no intermediate functional group to anchor the carbon nanotubes to the glass substrate, thus allowing a unique perspective of the properties and interaction of nanotubes alone" says Prato.

The scientists point out that their results as a whole represent a crucial step towards future neuroprosthetic devices, exploiting the surprising mechanical and (semi)conductive properties of carbon nanotubes. This field is now closer to a quantitative understanding of how precise electrical stimulation may be delivered in deep structures by 'brain pacemakers' in the treatment of brain diseases.

"From current and previous results of our group, it seems that carbon nanotubes could functionally interact with electrical nervous activity even in the absence of signal-conditioning integrated electronics and explicit external control" says Ballerini. "In fact, at least to some extent, (semi)conductive properties of the nanotubes might facilitate the emergence of synaptic activity. These achievements offer a promising strategy to further develop next-generation materials to be used in neurobiology." By Michael Berger *******

Roborat and implantable ‘mind-control’

From ...

A team of scientists implanted electrodes in the rat’s brain to control its movements, treating it effectively as a robot, making it do things it would never do willingly on its own.

John Chapin, professor of physiology and pharmacology at the State University of New York in Brooklyn, who heads the team, envisages using the roborat, armed with a miniature camera, to search for survivors in collapsed buildings, for example, "There’s no robot that exists now that would be capable of going down into such a difficult terrain," he says.

Five rats have been implanted, each with three electrodes and a power-pack on the animal’s back. When signalled from a labtop computer, two of the electrodes stimulate the rat’s brain and cue it either to go right or left. The rat has had to be trained, and when it moves in the desired direction, it is rewarded by stimulation to a third electrode implanted in the ‘pleasure centre’ of the brain. When only the pleasure centre is stimulated, the rat goes straight ahead.

The rats’ movements can be controlled 1 600 feet away. After training, the rats could be remotely guided through pipes and across elevated runways. They could be compelled to climb trees and ladders and to jump from heights. The animals could even be commanded to venture into brightly lit, open areas that they would normally avoid.

It isn’t nanotechnology yet, and it is not new, though the principle of involuntary ‘mind-control’ through implantable devices is the same. Chapin’s team strapped tiny video cameras to the rats to see whether they might be used to transmit images and sounds of people trapped inside ruins. But Chapin says the camera needs to be refined to compensate for the rats’ jerky movements and the power backpack has to be miniaturized, for implanting beneath the skin.

According to a report in Wired magazine, Howard Eichenbaum, professor of psychology at Boston University, said the research may raise ethical concerns about turning animals into robots.

The potential of using such implanted electrodes to control humans was investigated by a Tulane University researcher during the 1960s, with unclear results. That is something Chapin opposes so strongly he says it should be illegal.

But Kate Rears, a policy analyst at the Electronic Privacy Information Center in Washington, is worried that human-control technology can no longer be dismissed as far-fetched.*****

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