Brain Research - Future Likely Studies

When OJ Simpson killed his ex-wife and her friend around 1991, I noted that the news reports indicated that her dog (named something like Cujo, I think) had apparently actually witnessed the murders. I immediately told several others with me that it was too bad that neural science was not advanced enough where the dog could be taken to Court so that his "recorded brain images" might be played back so that the Jury might have seen what the dog had seen. At the time, I mentioned that I thought it likely that neural science might be capable of doing that around 2010.

It looks like I was somewhat optimistic about that! However, late in 2007, a TV segment on a science program presented something that seems to be an extremely crude experiment that is along that direction! The experiment involves a "skull cap" (which resembles a tight swimming cap) which apparently has some coils of wires embedded in it. Each coil is connected to a different computer input.

When brain activity occurs in a particular part of the brain, that is actually a collection of separate (a sort of alternating current) electrical signals which are passing along neurons inside the brain. In Physics, we know that when alternating current passes along a conductor (the neuron in this case), a specific (very weak) magnetic field is created around the neuron. That magnetic field expands outward so that it passes through the coils in the nearby skullcap. As the fluctuating magnetic field passes through such a coil, Physics again tells us that an electrical potential (voltage) is created in each of those coils.

The specific reason this caught MY attention was that this is essentially the same concept which is the basis for the Electronic Medical Anesthesia, for which I had uploaded a web-page in March 1999! In that case, I considered the brain to be too complex to try to analyze, but the nerve signals TO a hand from the brain necessarily all pass through a very narrow bundle of neurons near the center of the arm, and the nerve/pain signals FROM a hand to the brain necessarily also pass through that same bundle. Therefore, in the 1990s, I desired to assemble many coils of wire in a "sleeve" which might do exactly the same as the recent skullcap is doing for the brain! My desire then was to use computers to analyze ALL of the signals from all the sleeve coils of wire (which would be in many different angular orientations) where the computer could then figure out where a SINGLE neural signal had passed through the arm.

The next part of EA seems especially important in this discussion! Once the computer had recorded ALL the signals from all the coils, it should then be possible for the computer to PRODUCE that same set of currents in all the coils. They would create magnetic fields, which would then combine to cause an electrical potential WITHIN the bundle of neurons, hopefully so accurately that the specific neuron would receive the artificial signal. In that case, the neuron then would have an artificial signal which it would then process as though it had actually come from either the hand or the brain! The body should then process that signal as though it had been an actual signal the body had generated!

Sadly, I have not found any researchers who have had the slightest interest in building or advancing my Electronic Anesthesia concept! It is especially sad because it seems that it might have enabled crippled people to be able to either control their limbs in an artificial way OR that the signals captured might be re-introduced into the nervous system PAST wherever the injury had destroyed a spinal cord. So, in addition to the benefits of the non-intrusiveness of Electronic Anesthesia for medical procedures, it seems to me that millions of people in wheelchairs might also benefit from that concept.

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I consider EA as being extremely credible regarding existing technologies. Even better, I later discovered that the US government had invented a top-secret system in the 1960s called Ivy Bells, where they laid a device that included many coils of wires ALONGSIDE Soviet underwater telephone cables. Rather than having to actually "tap" the phone lines (which is often sensed by the phone user), the Ivy Bells system did not actually even touch the undersea cable! It apparently worked very well, as the US government used this system for several years, until the Soviets got a message from a spy that Ivy Bells was down there, and the Soviets grabbed the device. It is apparently now sitting in a Museum in Moscow! In any case, apparently the US government had figured out even in the 1960s how to analyze all the different readings from the different coils where they could SEPARATE OUT each of the many individual conversations going on through the bundle of wires in that cable. Ivy Bells is no longer top-secret, and it is apparently now even considered to be obsolete, but I have never been able to find ANY design diagrams of the arrangement of coils they used, or any of the analysis circuitry or software, or nearly anything else, except for the fact that the system existed (and that there is now one of them in that Museum in Moscow!)

Since Ivy Bells apparently included EVERYTHING I need for the Configuration 1 of the Electronic Anesthesia, it is frustrating to know that the government had spent countless millions of dollars in designing their arrangement of coils and their methods of processing the data generated, as that information would IMMEDIATELY make EA available to the Medical community! It appears that even though it is now considered totally obsolete, that information is not to be made available to me, such that I am apparently expected to personally fund the many millions of dollars of research to discover those same things. Seems immensely foolish to me, as there is no possible way that I could or would do that. Especially since I know that there ARE papers and people existing who already have all that knowledge!

It seems certain that attempting to do the same for the immensely complex neural signals in the brain must be a thousand times harder to do than to do the comparatively simple task of analyze of the signals within a narrow bundle of parallel neurons inside the arm. So I was extremely interested in seeing that TV segment!

Where can this lead in the future? There are MANY different possibilities!

The idea that prisons and schools might become unnecessary is pretty overwhelming! These comments might simply be silly thoughts regarding such things, mostly because of how complex the brain is. It may never be possible for us to develop computers that are capable of processing so much data!

Still, two of the central features of modern society might no longer be necessary at all. In fact, if criminals were re-programmed in such ways, there would then probably be zero recidivism, that is, no one would commit the same crime again! There might be minimal need for Police!

I personally doubt that computers will ever advance enough to enable these last few concepts. However, the first several seem extremely likely, and probably by 2020. I fully believe that we humans will then have excellent ways of communicating in both directions with at least a few species of animals.

This presentation was first placed on the Internet in November 2007.

The presentation of Electronic Anesthesia (from 1999)
Medical Anesthesia Can be Safer

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C Johnson, Theoretical Physicist, Physics Degree from Univ of Chicago