back to article Would we want to regenerate brains of patients who are clinically dead?

A trial to see if it is possible to regenerate the brains of patients who have been declared clinically dead has been approved. Reanima Advanced Biosciences aims to use stem cells, injections of peptides, and nerve stimulation to reverse “brain death as noted in clinical examination or EEG”, a project which at least scores …

  1. Rich 11 Silver badge

    Could be good...

    ...as long as the reanimated patients don't wake up with an overriding urge to acquire additional replacement brain tissue via the oral route.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Braiiinssss

      It does raise some interesting questions, as there have been many instances of people who've suffered a severe brain injury to recover physically, but to suffer from memory loss and/or personality change.

      So it would suggest that restoring brain function this way would not restore/maintain personality.

      1. moiety

        Re: Braiiinssss

        Dunno about that...the cases I've read about there was normally a chunk of the brain destroyed. It's conceivable that replacing the lost tissue with the same architecture -albeit blank- might even cause less personality change.

        Assuming it's not a hoax, it might throw some light on the whole "nature vs. nurture" thing.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Braiiinssss

          Dunno about that...the cases I've read about there was normally a chunk of the brain destroyed. It's conceivable that replacing the lost tissue with the same architecture -albeit blank- might even cause less personality change.

          Happened to someone very dear to me. The most vital woman you ever met now just sits in a care home, unable to form new memories. For three years I've thought her only hope would be to switch back on the brain growth, regrow the area that died. Old memories, more-or-less, remain, but it seems to me the computer analogy is particularly apt where inadequate memory is concerned. If there is a genetic switch that turns off growth in adulthood, that can be, briefly, turned back on...

          Like losing someone to dementia, such brain damage is particularly distressing. For everyone. It's almost the most frightening think we can imagine.

          Anon, to protect her identity, even if only notionally.

        2. Peter2 Silver badge

          Re: Braiiinssss

          It's unlikely to be a hoax. This is entirely within the realms of medical possibility as so far as I understand.

          When a person stops breathing then parts of the brain start to die from lack of oxygen. This is very well known and reasonably well understood, and most people even know the "3 minutes without oxygen until the brain starts dying off" thing.

          What people tend to forget is that when somebody goes down with a heart attack then even if you have a First Aider nearby it tends to take longer than 3 minutes to get them there. Consider this as a sequence of events:-

          1) Person collapses and stays lying on the floor

          2) People waste 30 seconds to a minute asking the unconcious body if they are ok.

          3) People start thinking about calling 999.

          4) Somebody discovers that the ambulance is going to take 15-30 minutes and the ambulance helldesk asks if you have a First Aider in the area and if somebody has gone to find one.

          5) Somebody goes off to find a first aider

          6) The first aider has a worse experiance than a first line helldesk trying to get "WHAT" (somebody collapsed) and "WHERE" (where I need to go) out of an incoherent if not outright hysterical messanger.

          7) The First Aider takes a detour to the accident via a First Aid kit (because resusication marks are sort of mandatory when doing mouth to mouth, unless you are totally unconcerned with the possibility of picking up nasty infectious diseases that you could then also pass to your partner etc)

          8) The First Aider arrives and applies CPR/AV and stabilises the casualty.

          . . . How long did that take?

          Betcha it's over 3 minutes so brain damage will have been taken to some extent, which may or may not be reversible. I have been the First Aider in this situation twice, and I do my best not to consider both how much brain damage the person has taken and the survival rates for people who have been resusicated.

          My knowledge suggests to me that this sort of treatment is not likely to work a matter of days or weeks after brain deaths, but minutes or hours at the outside. It seem to be more probable to me that this is a treatment for people who were just over the brink after a slightly late resusication than doing a frankenstien.

          1. Dave 126 Silver badge

            Re: Braiiinssss

            >It seem to be more probable to me that this is a treatment for people who were just over the brink after a slightly late resusication than doing a frankenstien.

            There are cases of brain damage occurring in a clinical environment - for example brain swelling some hours after admission to hospital. There are even cases of pregnant patients whose brains are dead whose bodies are kept alive for months until the baby they are carrying can be delivered by Ceasarian section.

            The article's discussion of people surviving after spending time without breathing was to illustrate the point that 'death' isn't as easy to define as once it was - indeed, last month's National Geographic had an article on this very subject.

            You raise a good point about the importance of CPR training. Ideally, the first responder will shout for someone else to call the emergency services whilst they administer CPR immediately. Hollywood and TV gives the impression that five minutes of passionate CPR might revive the patient, but that isn't the case - it's usually done continuously until paramedics arrive, and then only improves the patients chances.

            Can anyone provide input about the 999 services being able to pinpoint a mobile phone - in the scenario that the first responder is alone with a patient?

            1. Sweep

              Re: Braiiinssss

              "Can anyone provide input about the 999 services being able to pinpoint a mobile phone - in the scenario that the first responder is alone with a patient?"

              Calls from a mobile can be triangulated using the cell towers but I believe it's to within up to several square kms- in rural areas the area would be bigger. Probably a more accurate trace is possible but would require a special request etc.

              Newer smartphones (2014 onwards) use the phone's GPS to send a text to the network operator as soon as you dial 999. As accurate as your phone's GPS (I imagine).

              I'm not sure if the same system works with the emergencySMS service and I would actually be quite interested in finding out.

              I work at a large university and we have a massive problem with ambulances not being able to find their way around campus buildings as the whole campus shares the same postcode.

              I would recommend everyone in the UK register for the emergencySMS service btw.

          2. moiety

            Re: Braiiinssss

            Something else that would be interesting to see....as I understand things brain storage is holographic and very interconnected; so if using this technology can replace the damaged area; might the brain be able to sort of RAID some of the data back? Like replacing the knackered disc in a RAID set, really; you're giving it the kit for the memories/associations/whatever to run on. A simplistic view, of course; and much would depend on the amount of redundancy and how the brain's memory allocation works. Could be some very interesting research out of this.

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: Braiiinssss

              as I understand things brain storage is holographic and very interconnected; so if using this technology can replace the damaged area; might the brain be able to sort of RAID some of the data back?

              Yes, this is precisely what I've thought re: my friend.

              And, yes, what happened to her was brain swelling whilst on holiday. If you can't be gotten to a hospital with the proper facilities in time, it's pretty much guaranteed you'll be profoundly damaged.

          3. Muscleguy Silver badge

            Re: Braiiinssss

            A physiologist replies.

            1. heart attack patients whose hearts stop completely become organ donors or corpses.

            2. Some heart function is better than none.

            3. In extremis the body tries to priorities supply to vital organs, so heart itself, kidneys and brain. Arteries close and others open.

            4. Your scenario assumes heart cessation, yet casual thought suggest that cannot be.

    2. Doctor_Wibble
      Trollface

      Re: Could be good...

      I'm not sure there's necessarily a physiological requirement to be particularly fussy about what they eat (food is just fuel after all and admittedly the wobbly internal purple bits have lots of flavour in them) though the primary craving for functioning synaptic tissue does make sense if that's what goes off the quickest, hence the widely accepted - if perhaps a little erroneous - view that they are specifically brainivorous rather than just generally humanitarian.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Suppose it all depends on whether the patient returns with the same internal monologue which you would imagine they should if a person who has "died" of any other causes and been resuscitated. Hard to ever tell as the new internal monologue will just presume based off of the information it has access too that it's always been the monologue in charge.

    But in that situation you are no more and someone entirely new is in charge. This is the whole clone / digitisation dilemma. Clones and digitisation only continue your legacy in the same way as a child does just a bit weirder unless you have some way of transferring (not copying - unless of course your mind is in fact some kind of quantum state) the you that's locked into your brain to the other state...

    Course - obligatory zombie apocalypse mention.

    Also here's the other thing, we tend to bring people back from the brink of death for our personal beliefs (you must live life to the fullest for as long as possible!), dying is the hard part, being dead is simple.

  3. allthecoolshortnamesweretaken Silver badge

    How?

    According to the linked interview on Nextshark, it's "stem cell and peptide injections, lasers and nerve stimulation". Hmm. And what is the secret ingredient to make it work?

    Colour me skeptical, this is a bit too Young Frankenstein for me.

    BTW, in German, Quark is used as a derogatory term, unless you actually mean curd.

    1. Kane Silver badge
      Joke

      Re: How?

      "Colour me skeptical, this is a bit too Young Frankenstein for me."

      Are you speaking of the worm, or the spaghetti?

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Joke

      Re: How?

      ". Hmm. And what is the secret ingredient to make it work?

      Lightning...sheez where have you been for the last century and more.

  4. Admiral Grace Hopper
    Terminator

    Resurrection

    Some years ago I wound up in a coma following a near-fatal medical emergency. Waking up in ITU from that connected to several machines going "ping" and with a central line hanging out of my neck was disorienting enough, I can't begin to imagine how it feel to to be wrenched back from an even more definite terminal event.

    1. Paul Kinsler

      Re: how it feel to to be wrenched back from an even more definite terminal event.

      ... or, as the article posits, possibly wrenched back from someone else's terminal event...

      1. lorisarvendu

        Re: how it feel to to be wrenched back from an even more definite terminal event.

        "... or, as the article posits, possibly wrenched back from someone else's terminal event..."

        Presumably a large amount of memories would still be intact, otherwise the reanimated adult would have no idea how to speak, use their limbs, or possibly even breathe. Which sounds all rather familiar - person reanimated after fatal accident, with memories of past life but new personality. Very Doctor Who...apart from the change in appearance of course.

        1. Alister Silver badge

          Re: how it feel to to be wrenched back from an even more definite terminal event.

          To the best of my knowledge, the things that define who we are, and maintain our memories, are all a result of electrical charges in the brain.

          I'm pretty sure there are no persistent physical changes in the brain which would still be present after death. Think of it as RAM - the information is only held whilst electrical power is maintained.

          Therefore, whilst the autonomous functions of regulating breathing and heartbeat, and functioning of the gut, etc, would all still be there (they are built in - like a BIOS), I don't think a re-animated brain would contain any vestige of the person who it used to be.

          1. TechnicalBen Silver badge

            Re: how it feel to to be wrenched back from an even more definite terminal event.

            Alister. I think your mistaken there Alister. The electrical charges are positioned by chemical connections. In fact every neuron connects to another not via electrical signals, but chemical ones. The electrical part sends the signal along the neuron to the other parts, but the end communication is a chemical one.

            So both recent chemical compounds and long term neuron connections are very much non-electrical and permanent (while alive and not decaying).

            So memory and similar do seemed stored. However you are correct that to be "running" or "present" it needs to be electrical in nature.

            1. Keith Glass

              Re: how it feel to to be wrenched back from an even more definite terminal event.

              I'm guessing (no, no background in neuroscience. . . ) that IF a brain is revived and brought back to functioning, that the best you'd get was what was in long-term memory: I'm thinking, as others have suggested, that neuro-electric activity is akin to RAM, whereas other processes write long-term memory to tissue.

              The real question is, will the re-started electrical activity be able to READ the old memory, or might the "key" be lost ??

            2. lorisarvendu

              Re: how it feel to to be wrenched back from an even more definite terminal event.

              "So both recent chemical compounds and long term neuron connections are very much non-electrical and permanent (while alive and not decaying).

              So memory and similar do seemed stored. However you are correct that to be "running" or "present" it needs to be electrical in nature."

              Correct. In the same way that the electrical current in a Duracell battery is generated by the chemical composition of the battery. Even though it may not be actually generating any current at present, the battery's potential for current remains, due to the current state of it's chemistry, Once those chemicals have degraded, in the same way that the chemicals in a neuron may degrade as the nerve cell starts to decompose, then the potential for current would be lost...and so would any stored memory or capacity for thought.

              One could of course recharge the battery, but since that involves regenerating the chemical composition, it results in any previous data as to the state of the battery's charge being overwritten. This would presumably also happen to a neuron, as although it's capacity to store and/or transmit electrical signals would be reanimated, any previous memory state would be gone.

              I kind of read this research as being a step towards possibly repairing damaged neurons, enabling them to be once more used by the living brain they inhabit, but more in a "Factory Reset" kind of way than recovering lost memory or remembered function.

      2. Bernard M. Orwell Silver badge

        Re: how it feel to to be wrenched back from an even more definite terminal event.

        Dunno....how did it feel to be born? How about before that? I suspect tabula rasa is a likely result.

  5. Mr_Pitiful

    No Thanks

    When I die, I do not wish to be re-animated, thankyou

    Especially if the first bloody question asked is "can you give me the password for server x"

    1. hplasm Silver badge
      Alert

      Re: No Thanks

      The answer is of course 'Scream and Leap'.

      Then eat their brain.

  6. PleebSmasher
    Dead Vulture

    ick, ethicists

    Yes, it is clearly a good thing. Do the research, find the issues with deteriorating memories, and learn how to nullify or reduce the brain and bodily damage down the road. Damage is damage. We don't write living people off just for having a traumatic brain injury. If death is just a reversible state, then assess the damage and act accordingly. And that's in the long run. In the short term, we should be reviving bodies left and right despite whatever horrifying outcomes are encountered due to damaged brain tissue. Hopefully they signed consent forms beforehand, but that is just a courtesy.

    1. John Mangan

      Re: ick, ethicists

      Agreed with you right up to the reckless, ill-considered

      " In the short term, we should be reviving bodies left and right despite whatever horrifying outcomes are encountered due to damaged brain tissue. Hopefully they signed consent forms beforehand, but that is just a courtesy"

      No, there have to be checks, balances and forethought!

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: That icon ?

      How did you do it ?

      1. Shades

        Re: That icon ?

        "How did you do it ?"

        The value for the icon is submitted by the form as a text value, rather than a number to be cross-referenced by the server. Manipulate the forms post data, before its sent to the server, and you can change the icons value (its filename minus the extension I guess) to one that still on the server even though its not selectable from the form. The trick is knowing what icons, and the names thereof, that are still lurking on the server.

        1. Dave 126 Silver badge

          Re: That icon ?

          >The trick is knowing what icons, and the names thereof, that are still lurking on the server.

          Have you found the angel/demon Jobs/Gates icons?

          1. Shades
            Happy

            Re: That icon ?

            "Have you found the angel/demon Jobs/Gates icons?"

            As far as I can tell, from old posts, the forms icon value would be the filename minus "_48.png"*. Therefore the forms icon value, for those particular icons you mention, would be...

            jobs_horns

            jobs_halo

            gates_horns

            gates_halo

            * It seems that icons inline with posts are 48px² while the comment box "add an icon" icons are 32px². If I had to guess** as long as the filenames, as above, are inserted as the icon value the server appends the correct size upon serving the page.

            ** I don't do web dev, but I'm a massive nerd... The four upvotes on the previous post suggest I'm on the right track and I'm a much bigger nerd*** than even I realise! ;)

            *** And I wear that badge proudly! :D

            1. Shades

              Re: That icon ?

              I'm guessing PleebSmasher is my downvoter for revealing his not-so-secret "secret"? lol

    3. Jason Bloomberg Silver badge

      Re: ick, ethicists

      I am all for trying it but not without informed consent or with complete disregard for the rights and future life of the person being experimented upon.

      I'm not sure if you are being serious, trolling, or simply haven't thought it through.

    4. David Webb

      Re: ick, ethicists

      Can you imagine how long the transplant list would become if we kept giving people Raise? People would die because there would be a lack of organs for transplant.

      1. SundogUK

        Re: ick, ethicists

        Deliberately with-holding medical care so that someone dies is murder. Are you happy with the idea of murdering people in order to harvest their organs for transplant?

        1. The Mole

          Re: ick, ethicists

          "Deliberately with-holding medical care so that someone dies is murder."

          No it isn't, and it is actually pretty routine. Daily doctors make the decision to turn off incubators, to stop doing radiation or chemotherapy, to not perform aggressive (or any) resuscitation on patients, or otherwise stop or not start various types of treatment. All of these are forms of withholding the medical care which may prolong the patients life and without which will generally directly lead to their death. Generally this is justified on lack of any foreseeable quality of life in any form and/or the fact the life is only being kept through artificial methods.

          There are also cases where the decision is made but then the incubator is kept running a while longer until a match has been found and prepared for their organs so that they are, um, the freshest possible.

          Medical ethics is a complex and complicated landscape with very few clear cut decisions.

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: ick, ethicists

          Deliberately with-holding medical care so that someone dies is murder. Are you happy with the idea of murdering people in order to harvest their organs for transplant?

          By your (novel) definition of murder, that's exactly what we do today. I presume you aren't on the organ donation register if this concerns you. Because if you are, and the worst happens, you'll be kept ticking over (but hardly alive) for some while.

        3. Suricou Raven

          Re: ick, ethicists

          "Deliberately with-holding medical care so that someone dies is murder."

          In many US states, it's legal to withhold medical care from your children if you do so for religious reasons.

        4. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

          Re: ick, ethicists

          Are you happy with the idea of murdering people in order to harvest their organs for transplant?

          Hey, if you're going to murder people, you could at least recycle.

      2. Unep Eurobats
        Holmes

        Re: ick, ethicists

        "Can you imagine how long the transplant list would become"

        If and when we actually crack this, a new kidney will be child's play.

      3. TheOtherHobbes

        Re: ick, ethicists

        >People would die because there would be a lack of organs for transplant.

        It's hard enough to find high-functioning brain tissue among the living.

        "We'll just knock this about a bit and recycle whatever we're left with" is unlikely to improve that.

    5. Robert Helpmann?? Silver badge
      Childcatcher

      Re: ick, ethicists

      It is interesting that the first work of fiction brought up in this forum is Young Frankenstein whereas I was reminded of Doctor Who. It explores, after all, the issue of regenerating bodies with memories intact but with different personalities in control. Fiction is a useful way to explore issues of this nature, especially science fiction. Also, many of the legal, ethical and moral issues concerning this have already been worked out, or at least the foundations have been laid, through cases that involve people who have suffered a brain injury or other issue that has fundamentally changes their physical and psychological selves. This seems more an extension of that than anything else (though I do not downplay the importance of this possible advance).

      I think it is important to remember that no technology operates by itself. Yes, we are talking about a fairly large jump ahead in what can be accomplished through regenerative medicine. There have also been studies done on how to read memories and also how to alter them. In short, it would seem that there will come a time that a person can be backed up and restored at need, assuming all of these things can be made to work and to work in conjunction with each other. Still in the realm of science fiction, but it would seem there is the potential for this to become a reality. If you want to talk about an ethical issue, why not discuss whether vastly extended lifespans for people would be a good thing?

      1. cray74

        Re: ick, ethicists

        It is interesting that the first work of fiction brought up in this forum is Young Frankenstein

        I'd contend the first work of fiction was in the first post with the humorous, oblique zombie reference because zombies are fictional. Unless you know something about an upcoming zombie apocalypse that I don't.

        ...seriously, do you know something?

        Anyway, I referenced Young Frankenstein not because of I think of the process as Frankenstein-ish and abominable (quite the opposite, having lost several family members to dementia), but because of the potential for humorous mishaps with inserting brain cells into nominally dead bodies. And I missed the chance for original zombie jokes.

        whereas I was reminded of Doctor Who. It explores, after all, the issue of regenerating bodies with memories intact but with different personalities in control.

        An excellent comparison.

        If you want to talk about an ethical issue, why not discuss whether vastly extended lifespans for people would be a good thing?

        Longer life spans would certainly not help overpopulation and resource issues, and there's a quality of life question if the extension happens without preservation of youth. But in the face of that I'd say, "Give me the life extension first. Someone needs to try it out, and I'd certainly have more time to debate." We're in a fascinating time to be alive and I'd like to see the next few centuries, even at the risk of creating ethical dilemmas about the resources my geezerly self are hogging up.

  7. wolfetone Silver badge
    Thumb Down

    No.

    It would mean Katie Hopkins would never die.

    1. TitterYeNot

      Re: No.

      "It would mean Katie Hopkins would never die."

      Yes, but would anyone notice the difference if she suffered brain death?

  8. MAF

    A possible benefit

    If it works, we might have a means of getting Politicians who can think.

    Wonder at the possibilities....

    1. Queeg
      Alert

      Re: A possible benefit

      Please God no!

      David Hameron,Terrorista May and Boris the Animal with Higher Brain Functions.

      Meep

  9. EddieD

    This reminds me of a wee story.

    A lady in her 80s was concerned with what would happen on life function termination, and whether her wishes would be honoured, so she had "Do not resuscitate" tattooed on her chest.

    She then had "Please turn over" tattooed on her back.

  10. JetSetJim Silver badge
    Meh

    Divorce

    Is it a more subtle way of getting a divorce? "Til death us do part" and all that. Come back to life and be unfettered forever more.

    Assuming Jon Snow is brought back to life in GoT, it gets him out of the Night's Watch oath, too:

    "Night gathers, and now my watch begins. It shall not end until my death. I shall take no wife, hold no lands, father no children. I shall wear no crowns and win no glory. I shall live and die at my post. I am the sword in the darkness. I am the watcher on the walls. I am the shield that guards the realms of men. I pledge my life and honor to the Night's Watch, for this night and all the nights to come."

    1. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

      Re: Divorce

      "He's spending a year dead for tax reasons."

      As it happens, though, at least in some jurisdictions, returning to de jure life is fraught. The de facto bit may prove to be the less-complicated aspect.

  11. nijam
    Joke

    What are you worried about? If they can remember their Facebook login, that's all the continuity they need!

  12. cray74

    Whose stem cells did I put in?

    Dr. Himanshu Bansal: [to Igor] Now those stem cells that you gave me. Were they from Hans Delbruck's brain?

    Igor: [pause, then] No.

    Dr. Bansal: Ah! Very good. Would you mind telling me whose brain I DID put in?

    Igor: Then you won't be angry?

    Dr. Bansal: I will NOT be angry.

    Igor: Abby someone.

    Dr. Bansal: [pause, then] Abby someone. Abby who?

    Igor: Abby... Normal.

    Dr. Bansal: [pause, then] Abby Normal?

    Igor: I'm almost sure that was the name.

    Credits

  13. Barely registers
    Flame

    Cremation

    I'm done, thanks.

  14. Uncle Slacky Silver badge
    Thumb Up

    Obligatory Princess Bride quote

    "It just so happens that your friend here is only MOSTLY dead. There's a big difference between mostly dead and all dead. Mostly dead is slightly alive."

    1. The Indomitable Gall

      Obligatory Monty Python quote

      He's pining for the fjords.

    2. Mark 85 Silver badge
      Pint

      Re: Obligatory Princess Bride quote

      Miracle Max was the first thing I thought of... Have an upvote and cold one.

    3. Faceless Man

      Re: Obligatory Princess Bride quote

      "With all dead, there's usually only one thing you can do."

      "What's that?"

      "Go through his clothes and look for loose change."

    4. raving angry loony
      Pint

      Re: Obligatory Princess Bride quote

      Also the first thing I thought of. Have a couple of pints.

      Yes, you are going to be paying for them, you just have my permission.

  15. Christoph Silver badge

    Don't forget the chocolate coating

    He's only mostly dead.

  16. jb99

    We already deal with this a bit

    Although total memory loss isn't as common as TV would have you believe it does exist, and as far as we know we still treat the person as the original one even though in many respects they are not.

  17. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Regenerate the brains of the clinically dead?

    And wake up my boss?

    No, I don't think we should.

  18. John G Imrie Silver badge

    I wonder how much the treatment will cost

    And how the rest of us will cope when the 1%ers are clinically immortal.

  19. Filippo

    Sounds like a new technology that will probably have some serious problems to work out. Just like every other new technology.

    If you start working on the new technology despite the serious problems, eventually you fix the serious problems and are left with good technology.

    If you don't start working on the new technology because you want the scientists to fix the serious problems first, the serious problems never get fixed and you never get the good technology.

    1. TechnicalBen Silver badge
      Trollface

      That is all well and dandy...

      But I have this flying car I would like you to test. Don't worry about those serious problems. I will get them fixed by analysing you... um, the car in the crash it may have.

      Thanks for volunteering!

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: That is all well and dandy...

        You mean like the history of powered (and unpowered, for that matter) flight.

        Enough people were willing to take the massive risks for the glory.

  20. Anonymous Coward
    Coat

    Immortal

    To be immortal would be a terrible thing, I mean when would it end?

    That's why you get cranky vampires.

  21. TechnicalBen Silver badge
    Facepalm

    And we are doing this on people... why?

    I assume they did this on animals first? Or in labs with stem cells? Or anything better than going head strong into using people as test subjects (alive or dead) as their first attempt...?

    1. Mark 85 Silver badge
      Trollface

      Re: And we are doing this on people... why?

      Can't use animals.... PETA will be all over any lab that does. OTOH, they won't make a peep if it's tried on humans..

  22. Spoobistle
    Alien

    Reanima-tor...?

    Think they might have chosen a better brand name... unless of course it's a subsidiary of Cthulhu Enterprises.

    1. Faceless Man

      Re: Reanima-tor...?

      Presumably they're working for the research labs at Miskatonic University.

  23. lukewarmdog
    Happy

    Well

    I, for one, am all for welcoming our recently undeceased overlords.

    I can see a massive practical use for this actually. If we allow that our brains are much better then computers of a similar size but that as humans we don't really appreciate being hooked into large arrays and asked to perform long calculations..

    Well if you die and the bit that would protesteth isn't restored, that does give science a ready supply of self-supporting brains for a not-necessarily-but-most-probably-evil neural network. Or.. a cheaper way of cracking that pesky iPhone if you'd prefer to look at it that way.

    And of course this is the first step towards Futurama's heads in jars. Who wouldn't want that?

    1. TechnicalBen Silver badge

      Re: Well

      Two mistakes. One that we are not the same as what we are made of. And two that we need a human brain for any of those tasks.

      As it would have the same structure as a person, a reanimated brain would be a person. No excaping that.

      As we only need neurons, we can use any type (fish, worm, Z list celebrity) to do our calculating. Why choose the most risky and hardest to keep functioning?

      1. Tom 7 Silver badge

        Re: Well

        The brain is not just a collection of neurons and memories. Its layer upon layer of filters and simulators built from experience but also built on the ready built in models from our genes and whatever goes on in the womb.

        It would be like trying to run an ARM binary on an Intel PC.

        I had a friend who lost a leg and 30 years later would still sometimes get out of bed and fall over. Imagine what it would be like waking up in something that was just slightly wrong everywhere.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Well

          " Imagine what it would be like waking up in something that was just slightly wrong everywhere."

          That's a definition of a teenage boy going through his growth spurt. His feedback sensors are doing catch-up trying to track the new dimensions.

  24. magickmark
    Terminator

    Lovecraft

    Go thou to HP Lovecraft and there read of "Herbert West" and shudder11

  25. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Not exclusive

    If something comes from this, the results will certainly not be limited to braindead people. Braindead people are a good testsubject, because even if it fails and they remain braindead, they were already braindead before, so no harm done. But if this can succeed in regenerating damaged brain tissue, the treatment could also possibly be applied to people who are *not* braindead and 'only' suffer from major damage to the brain (say from an accident for example).

    And let's not forget that even if this was only marginally successful, it could still lead to more funding in this area, leading to better results of other research projects in the future.

  26. Chris Miller

    H2G2 has all this covered

    “I thought you said you could just read his brain electronically,” protested Ford.

    “Oh yes,” said Frankie, “but we’d have to get it out first. It’s got to be prepared.”

    “Treated,” said Benjy.

    “Diced.”

    “Thank you,” shouted Arthur, tipping up his chair and backing away from the table in horror.

    “It could always be replaced,” said Benjy reasonably, “if you think it’s important.”

    “Yes, an electronic brain,” said Frankie, “a simple one would suffice.”

    “A simple one!” wailed Arthur.

    “Yeah,” said Zaphod with a sudden evil grin, “you’d just have to program it to say What? and I don’t understand and Where’s the tea? Who’d know the difference?”

    “What?” cried Arthur, backing away still farther.

    “See what I mean?” said Zaphod, and howled with pain because of something that Trillian did at that moment.

    “I’d notice the difference,” said Arthur.

    “No, you wouldn’t,” said Frankie mouse, “you’d be programmed not to.”

  27. dwilkin
    Joke

    Do they want a Zombie Apocalypse? Because that's how you get a Zombie Apocalypse...

  28. VinceH Silver badge

    It brings new insight into this old, short documentary from a while back about a chap returning a recently purchased pet to the shop.

  29. Ugotta B. Kiddingme

    Same person or different?

    Larry Niven's very excellent A World Out of Time took this to another level. The story begins with the protagonist waking up in a strange place and in a "new" body. Then he remembered doing something stupid which had led to his accidental death. Then he remembered having expressed his wish to be cryo-preserved. Then they explained to him that "he" was some criminal whose memory and personality had been wiped and the RNA of some frozen dead person had been introduced to create what they believed to be a new person. The protagonist, Corbell, distinctly remembers his "original" life and struggles to determine whether or not he is now, in fact, the same person with a different body.

    That's only a small part of the story, but it's a very interesting premise in a very interesting novel.

    1. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

      Re: Same person or different?

      Then he remembered doing something stupid which had led to his accidental death.

      Not accidental. Corbell had terminal cancer. This comes up a few times in the first few chapters (I don't recall if it's in the short story that Niven adapted into the novel), for example when he's receiving mRNA injections and notes that he's not afraid of needles because they were used to deliver analgesics to his original body.

      I don't recall Corbell worrying too much about whether he's still the same person, to be honest. Certainly there's more existential panic in, say, Pohl's Man Plus, and that's just your standard cyborg-a-dude-up-for-Mars story.

      1. This post has been deleted by its author

  30. Ugotta B. Kiddingme

    picture?

    What is the source of the picture at the top of the article?

    1. EddieD

      Re: picture?

      Get thee the Tineye (or equivalent) plugin for your browser, the truth shall be known...

      https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/Lobe_of_the_brain

      Would be one place.

      1. VinceH Silver badge

        Re: picture?

        Wrong picture. I think Ugotta B. Kiddingme was asking about this one. The filename is "shutterstock_shiny_new_woman.jpg" which may be a clue. (i.e. if the meaning of the question was "Is it from a SF film, and if so which one?" the answer is "probably not - it's probably a set up photo.")

        1. EddieD

          Re: picture?

          My mistake - I browse with images suppressed for the most time...

          I did find this.

          https://theconversation.com/would-we-want-to-regenerate-brains-of-patients-who-are-clinically-dead-59107

        2. Ugotta B. Kiddingme

          Re: picture?

          Correct, Vince, including your supposition of the question behind the question. Thanks.

  31. BurnT'offering

    I wonder if I am a test subject

    And nobody's told me?

    Or maybe I just need more coffee

  32. Runilwzlb

    What about the ones still walking around?

    Shouldn't we be working on reviving the brain dead that are still walking around? Surely they rate a higher priority than those that are deceased (insert dead parrot reference here)? The Kardashians are still a 'thing'. What more proof do you need?

  33. sjsmoto

    "In this world nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes."

    Great.

    1. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

      No worries, Death will arrive eventually, regardless of brain regeneration. If you live past the next big extinction event, there's always the expansion of the sun to look forward to. And even if you're no longer in this solar system, everything's still moving toward equilibrium.

      What's certain is thermodynamics.

  34. Schlimnitz

    Invoking Betteridge...

    And his law of headlines.

  35. BrianT

    So, is this research worth doing?

    The cynic in me says that if funding can be found then the answer is "Yes"

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