Last weekends I read a story of R.Dahl “William and Mary”, which is about the relationship between a husband and wife (we will omit their story here) and the death. But not a usual death. William was suffering from cancer and he knew he would die soon. Suddenly, he was offered to undertake a tempting procedure, that would mean to transplant his brain from the body after the death and to plug it in artificial heart. The brain would be placed in a water tank – in a Ringer’s solution and moreover it would be possible to attach an eye so that “William” can see, read books and newspapers! The doctor is uncertain whether the brain will be consciousness and I am uncertain if all that is actually possible beyond the book…
- Is this remotely workable to keep the brain alive and functional in a similar way without the body? Or this is just purely fairy-tale??
Currently No. Possible in the future.
In theory you could do that, if there is an infinite and intact supply of blood and oxygen as well as essential nutrients are constantly simulated. One of the obstacles could be the next: the brain starts to die within 3 minutes of oxygen deprivation at normal temperature, which means that either you should operate very and very quickly (what is hard) or cool the body down, extract the brain and then activate blood supply to maintain oxygen (what is very difficult)
So this basically means, that you can set apart brain and body and keep the brain alive, but a brain not connected to a body is useless, for there is no longer connection to human nervous system. There are no feelings, emotions or need. No hunger, no sex, no love. Currently technology can not solve this puzzle.
- How long can brain “live” without body then?
Not forever. But longer than 100 years.
Imagine that pumping machine that creates illusion of heart and supports oxygen to brain. Consider that brain is not damaged at all, it will as a biologial oranism change with the time, get older and finally decay. So the oxygen itself would be so necessary to sustain brain , would also cause it decay. This is like an apple. Cut it , leave and it turns brown.
- Will my brain be conscious? Can I think?
No idea at all.
This is what I found most difficult to find in web, exactly, as the doctor in the book was unsure about it. The question is not clearly answered and I have only two proposals for that.
First, with the advanced technology there is the possibility of uploading the brain into a computer. “Virtual environments could be provided for stimulation. As long as the computers are kept running and in working condition, a brain kept “alive” in this manner could conceivably last for a very very long time. Potentially for hundreds of generations of normal biological humans.” (check here)
But I have to add here, that we can not teach any software program to feel, so the transplanted once brain into a computer will base forever on the feelings it received before in the reality.
Second, I found the next video, where the doctor is talking about brain transplantation which was made with chimpanzees. As a result, the head with new brain resumes all brain function including blinking eyes and moving facial muscles, but – of course- no bodily movement was possible, because it is impossible to resume the spinal cord.
I would add, that we should not forget that brain is not a body, it is a container with mind, memories, feelings and so on. It is not tangible and I adhere to that brain will be consciousness even without a body. And if works, people can make a good business out of it. It will cost a lot though, but definitely it will brings results. Good and bad. Think just what people can use it for: give a new life for disabled people or use in in the military interests…
- What about soul? religion? ethics?
May be one day scientists will prove that nothing of that exist at all. That God is your brain and your soul could be succesfully translantated into another body. Or may be not… and all such experiments will be criminalized, what is very doubtful.
Ethics? Has science ever have ethical or moral principles? I believe that never. Unless the science is the a part of knowledge, it is a power. Huge power.