Monday, May 17, 2010

Christopher deCharms looks inside the brain

By Carlee C.

Imagine having the technology to see into your own brain, control the pain you feel and explore your mind. Christopher deCharm and his lab have created this technology that will be available for our generation.

"People have wanted to look inside the human mind, the human brain, for thousands of years. Well, coming out of the research labs just now for our generation is the possibility to do that." There is a new technology that allows you to literally be able to read your own brain in real time. Not only can you read and interpret your thoughts and pain but you can also control how much love you feel or how much of a specific feeling you have towards a specific object. They have tested this new program out on chronic pain patients, "They're watching their own brain activation, and they're controlling the pathway that produces their pain." They can see a display of exactly what kind of pain they are experiencing and going through at that moment in time, with that memory. "This is an investigational technology, but in clinical trials we're seeing a 44 to 64 percent decrease in chronic pain patients." So we can not only use it to see into our own brains for feelings and pain but it also has a great reason for existing in the medical perspective and I believe it could really change the whole medical field as we know it.

To posses this kind of technology is quite scary. To know that one day you could manage the amount of feeling you have towards different topics and people; that you can create less pain for yourself. You will have complete power over every aspect that makes you you. This is a new thought and could bring wonderful advancements in everything. It will change everything as we know it. Before this, "There have been three ways to try to impact the brain: the therapist's couch, pills and the knife. This is a fourth alternative that you are soon going to have." There are many new benefits coming from this idea, such as: "We're going to do it non-invasively using MRI. We don't have to inject anything. We don't need radiation." These are long term health concerns that come along with other methods of going into the brain. None of these concerns are need with this new method.

In my opinion, Christopher deCharm gave a great presentation in the short amount of time he had. He engaged the audience by keeping them constantly thinking and doing little movements such as, raising their arm and explaining the importance of each muscle and reaction involved in the process. He began and ended strong, getting the audience moving in the beginning, thinking about questions throughout and concluding with one final question, "We are the first generation that's going to be able to enter into, using this technology, the human mind and brain. Where will we take it?"

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