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Real-life 'mind melds' could help brains heal


Posted on Wednesday, 22 July, 2015 | Comment icon 8 comments

Would you link minds with someone else to help cure an illness ? Image Credit: CC BY 2.0 Allan Ajifo
Scientists believe that linking up two brains could help to treat a range of neurological conditions.
Unless you happen to be Mr Spock the idea of linking your own mind up to that of another individual might seem absurd, yet scientists at Duke University's Center for Neuroengineering in North Carolina believe that such a feat is not only possible but also potentially highly advantageous.

"We are trying a completely new field of brain rehabilitation," said director Miguel Nicolelis. "We are going to try to act on the circuits of the brain and actually improve the functional activity of the brain."

In a recent experiment a group of monkeys linked together through electrodes implanted in their brains were able to collectively move a virtual arm using a special brain-machine interface.

The researchers believe that in humans this type of technology could one day be used to help enhance neural activity in the brain and to cure a wide range of neurological problems.

"For example, in my paraplegic patients I noticed it was very difficult to start training using a brain signal, because the brain can literally forget that you have legs," said Nicolelis. "So part of this neurological rehab is to use another brain to reintroduce the concept to the brains of the patients."

Nicolelis even believes that we already engage in a type of brain sharing in our everday lives.

"When we're watching a movie in a theater, this type of feedback is probably synchronizing brains in the audience so that we have group reactions, laughing or crying at the same moments," he said.

"It can also explain why groups of people can collaborate to achieve a common goal. Like a sports team for example, where we often watch and say that a team is finally playing like a team and not like a bunch of individuals."

Source: Smithsonian Magazine | Comments (8)

Tags: Brain, Mind

Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #1 Posted by ouija ouija on 22 July, 2015, 21:01
The example of theatre audiences synchronising their brains to produce group reactions like crying or laughing at the same time, is, I think, a poor one. Surely people are individually laughing at something because they find it funny .... they are not laughing because other minds are telling them to. However, the example of a group of players working together as a sports team towards a common goal, is good. Although, actually, when I think about it some more, perhaps that is not what is happening after all! Maybe the individuals in the team are simply very focussed on the goal and very aware o... [More]
Comment icon #2 Posted by Infernal Gnu on 23 July, 2015, 0:40
I want to link my mind to Donald Trump so I can be right about everything and never have to apologize for insulting anyone.
Comment icon #3 Posted by pallidin on 23 July, 2015, 3:30
I want to link my mind to Donald Trump so I can be right about everything and never have to apologize for insulting anyone. OMG!!!! I couldn't stop laughing! He is one tool, to be sure.
Comment icon #4 Posted by Father Merrin on 23 July, 2015, 9:31
Mind melds??? Seriously??? Science cant provide a battery for my smart phone that lasts longer than 7 hrs but they can combine consciousness and get monkey's to control robots through the power of thought! Priorities are all wrong in this world
Comment icon #5 Posted by IBelieveWhatIWant on 23 July, 2015, 15:55
Mind melds??? Seriously??? Science cant provide a battery for my smart phone that lasts longer than 7 hrs but they can combine consciousness and get monkey's to control robots through the power of thought! Priorities are all wrong in this world Correct me if I'm wrong but I believe I heard something about a battery that was in development that lasts for 20 years.
Comment icon #6 Posted by Father Merrin on 23 July, 2015, 18:03
Correct me if I'm wrong but I believe I heard something about a battery that was in development that lasts for 20 years. Well the sooner Apple,Samsung etc get that technology, the better
Comment icon #7 Posted by MJNYC on 23 July, 2015, 18:04
"In a recent experiment a group of monkeys linked together through electrodes implanted in their brains were able to collectively move a virtual arm using a special brain-machine interface." All I see is Dr. Frankenstein. So horrific that today we still research on sentient beings, when there are alternatives. Shame on them.
Comment icon #8 Posted by Sundew on 24 July, 2015, 20:13
Correct me if I'm wrong but I believe I heard something about a battery that was in development that lasts for 20 years. Yes but it's the size of a VW Microbus and contains 100 pounds of Plutonium.


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