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Chemistry

PERIOD 2/3
Mariah Mellinger

Wait, Whats This Called


Again?
___

By Benjamin Supranovich

Do You Remember

Mytopicisaboutbrainimplantsthatimprovememoriesandrepairlostones.Thistechnology
couldbeimmenselyhelpfultomanypeople.Itcanhelpsoldierswhosufferedbraininjuries,it
canhelpathleteswhoalsohadheadinjuries.Orwecouldhelptheelderlywithdementia.
RobertoMalinowintheuniversityofCalifornia,SanDiego,wasabletousepreciselytargeted
lighttowipeout,andthenrestore,memoriesingeneticallyengineeredmice.

Who This Can Help


Thisdiscoverycouldbesoimportantitcouldhelparound280,000soldierswhohavesuffered
braininjuryduringaction.Butitcanalsohelpseniorswithdementiaandathleteswhohave
sufferedbraininjuries.
"AndresLozano,chairmanofneurosurgeryattheUniversityofToronto.Thishastremendous
valuefromabasicscienceaspect.Itmayhavehugeimplicationsforpatientswithdisorders
affectingmemory,includingthosewithdementiaandAlzheimersdisease.
Atleast1.7millionpeopleintheU.S.arediagnosedwithmemorylosseachyear,costingthe
nationseconomymorethan$76billionannually,accordingtothemostrecentfederalhealth
data.TheDepartmentofVeteransAffairsestimatesitwillspend$4.2billiontocareforformer
troopswithbraininjuriesbetweenfiscal2013and2022.
Thesearetwoquotesfromawebpage,thesequotesweretooimportanttonotusethem.

Why It Might Not Help


The first issue for this scientific discovery is that it is yet to be tested on humans. It appears
to have great results on rats and other lab animals and is generating a lot of excitement in the
scientific community, but it is far from being ready to be a common procedure.
There are some potential issues that could arise if testing shows it to be effective with
humans. Firstly the procedure is would likely be very expensive and would likely come with a
certain amount of medical risk for the recipient, as it is a surgery to the brain and all brain
surgeries are very risky. There are also some potential concerns related to the retrieval of
memories. The patient may recall unwanted memories that cause extreme emotional distress.
Additionally the patients would not necessarily be able to distinguish whether the memories
were of events that actually happened versus stories that have been told to them in the past
that they believe to be true.
While this scientific discovery is still under development it has not received much formal
opposition. However it is possible that members of the legal system may have concerns about
the accuracy of the retrieved memories as it relates to victims and witnesses of crimes. It
could assist in new investigations if a victim cannot recall their attacker, but it could result in
overturning old cases if past witnesses and victims could suddenly recall things they had not
remembered previously. Another legal issue that could arise is if people tried to get the
procedure even if they have no medical reason. It could gain status as a type of cosmetic
surgery to enhance memory and may need to be regulated by the government. Lastly, some

religious groups or certain naturalists might be opposed to interfering with Gods will or with
nature.

But People Want This


The scientists developing this device are very optimistic about its future. They have told CNN
that it is not if, but when they will begin experimenting on humans. I reviewed some of the
comments in response to an article on this device and many readers actually volunteered to
be human test subjects! There are strict rules governing medical trials on humans, but as this
device has backing from the US military it is likely to get needed support to be approved.
Solutions to the ethical issues surrounding the use of this device could be addressed by a
group of experts who understand the medical implications. They could make
recommendations to the government regarding laws and regulations for distribution to the
general public.

How To Make It Easier


Perhaps if we can bring back memory and even prevent memory loss, maybe some very
accomplished people such as scientists and artists would be able to invent and create long
into their old age when they might usually loose their memory. If this surgery becomes
common, it will become cheaper and more accessible and this could possibly reduce the
number of seniors that need to live in nursing homes and need around the clock care because
they can;t remember basic things needed to live safely alone e.g. their own name and address.
This will make life easier for the elderly and people who have to care for them. It could also
make things in the courtroom easier if a person involved in a crime could be helped to
remember different facts of the crime, however, this could make the legal system in the US
even more expensive.

Should It Be Our #1 Priority


This memory device is not necessary for the survival of the majority of people, but it has the
potential to improve the lives of some people who have to suffer due to severe memory loss.
It is an important discovery but not necessarily the most important discovery of our time.
There are many diseases and illnesses that are far more deadly that are still in need of cures
and vaccinations. There is much that needs to be done to bring this discovery into the market

for general use. Testing on humans is needed and the ability to make this available to all who
could benefit regardless of their ability to pay.

Miller,Kathleen."BrainImplantsHoldPromiseRestoringCombatMemoryLoss."
Bloomberg.com.Bloomberg,7Feb.2014.Web.29Sept.2015.
<http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/20140207/brainimplantsholdpromiserestoringco
mbatmemoryloss>.