Re: Fwd: Hemispherectomy, partial brain transplant

From: Anders Sandberg (
Date: Mon Apr 03 2000 - 05:57:23 MDT

Spike Jones <> writes:

> > matter how much time [Eliezer S. Yudkowsky] spend thinking about the
> > Singularity, suggestions like these still give me the chills.
> > --
> > Since at least 1950, "hemispherectomy" (the surgical removal of half the
> > brain) has been used in children for hemiplegia and intractable epilepsy.
> > >From
> Epilepsy is an electrical storm of sorts that takes place across the
> corpus callosum. Seems like if hemispherectomy/transplant could
> be worked out, then two severely epileptic children could perhaps
> be cured by having them switch left hemispheres. Then they would
> both end up with a full brain as well. spike

Unfortunately no, the problem is that there usually exist one or
several epileptic loci, areas where a lack of inhibition causes the
neurons to go into a positive feedback loop triggering the
seizures. If you could transplant the hemispheres you would also
transplant the loci.

One of my favorite books from my childhood was _En Levande Sjal_ by
P.C. Jersild. It was the diary of a brain named Upsilon living in an
aquarium at a research lab, dealing with its everyday life and the
various odd things going on at the lab (everything from its unrequited
love of a scientist over a severed crawling hand to the mysterious
plots of the lab rats). Gradually Upsilon is subjected to stranger and
stranger experiments, including having one hemisphere exchanged with
its old enemy, the aggressive brain Omega (one scene involves the
brains swimming around fighting). A rather odd situation where it
suddenly was and wasn't itself and had a "brother" that was nearly
identical to itself/themselves.

It was this kind of books that made me a transhumanist. :-)

Anders Sandberg                                      Towards Ascension!                  
GCS/M/S/O d++ -p+ c++++ !l u+ e++ m++ s+/+ n--- h+/* f+ g+ w++ t+ r+ !y

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