Re: Nucleus Accumbens Transplant

Anders Sandberg (
01 Dec 1998 14:59:51 +0100

(repost, my first attempt failed)

"my inner geek" <> writes:

> Could the Nucleus Accumbens be transplanted from an old man, to his
> cryonically suspended twin?

At what technological level? The quick answer seems to be "no, not practically". The reason is that you need to get the right neural connections, and they appear to be quite specific in this case (the basal ganglia are amazing and precise structures, I'm almost feeling jealous of my office-mate who is studying them). So even if you could transplant this small ball of tissue, you would need it to connect to the right neurons (which might not even exist in the twin's brain), in itself a huge SI complete problem, and the tools available today might be just neurotrophins. Still, adding a NAc to a dysthymic brain might be helpful, but as a caution (as well as wonderful idea), read Greg Egans story "Reasons to be cheerful".

> If he had been cloned, or if his zygote had been pulled into several
> cell clusters, and some of them had been cryonically suspended (prior
> to his placement into my grandmother, Melva's, uterus), would there
> be hope for Mark's "reincarnation", by placing his "experiened"
> quantum interfaced nucleus accumbens into one of his twins?

No. The NAc may be important, but it is just a part of something much larger - the whole brain system, and without it it is just as meaningful as an isolated piece of computer code - sure, you might recognize a loop and a few list handing functions, but it doesn't give much information about the program it belonged in. You need to restore the whole network structure, not just a small piece.

And frankly, quantum effects most probably have nothing to do with anything in the CNS (Penrose, Hameroff et al are widely regarded as silly by neuroscientists). OK, I might be wrong (and in that case I will admit it to whoever proves it on his or her Nobel lecture here in Stockholm), but the q-mind theory has no extraordinary evidence backing up its extraordinary claims.

Apropos the NAc, how to enhance it instead? NGF injections?

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