Researchers Manipulate Neurons in Worms’ Brains and Take Control of Their Behavior

Researchers Manipulate Neurons in Worms’ Brains and Take Control of Their Behavior (Activist Post, Sep 25, 2012):

A team of Harvard scientists have discovered how to manipulate neurons in the brains of worms in order to take control of their behavior. This literal mind control is achieved through the use of precisely targeted lasers. So far researchers have been able to take over an animal’s brain, instruct it to turn in any direction they choose, and even to implant false sensory information, fooling the animal into thinking food was nearby.

When news of this reaches the mainstream media there is no doubt that they will say that there is no intention in using this on more complex life forms, however the researchers themselves are already discussing just that.

Sharad Ramanathan, an Assistant Professor of Molecular and Cellular Biology recently told nature journal that “If we can understand simple nervous systems to the point of completely controlling them, then it may be a possibility that we can gain a comprehensive understanding of more complex systems. This gives us a framework to think about neural circuits, how to manipulate them, which circuit to manipulate and what activity patterns to produce in them.”

He also said that “Most of these approaches have discovered neurons necessary for specific behavior by destroying them. The question we were trying to answer was: Instead of breaking the system to understand it, can we essentially hijack the key neurons that are sufficient to control behavior and use these neurons to force the animal to do what we want? We want to understand the brain of this animal, which has only a few hundred neurons, completely and essentially turn it into a video game, where we can control all of its behaviors.”It comes as no surprise that this study was funded by the Human Frontier Science Program, the NIH Pioneer Award and the National Science Foundation. The Human Frontier Science Program itself a massive bureaucracy which receives financial support from the governments or research councils of Australia, Canada, France, Germany, India, Italy, Japan, Republic of Korea, New Zealand, Norway, Switzerland, UK, USA, as well as from the European Union. The NIH Pioneer Award is a program set up by the US government that gives grants to “scientists of exceptional creativity, who propose pioneering – and possibly transforming approaches – to major challenges in biomedical and behavioral research.”

These efforts to control the mind of a living animal are openly funded by state agencies, and being announced as if it was just a typical benign scientific discovery. While human subjects are not being used in these studies as we saw with project MK-Ultra, it is obvious that this new program has the same intentions, to control the human mind remotely.

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