Scientists keep pigs' brains alive for 36 hours

April 28, 2018
The researchers restored blood supply to the dead pigs' brains

US-based researchers have successfully kept alive the brain cells of decapitated pigs for 36 hours, sparking concerns over the ethics involved in such frontline research.

The MIT Technology Review said a team at Yale University led by neuro-scientist Nenad Sestan had carried out experiments on between 100 and 200 pigs sourced from an abattoir.

Sestan had presented the findings of the experiments, where his team restored to the dead pigs' brains, in late March to a conference organised by the US National Institutes of Health (NIH).

The researchers said they had succeeded in delivering oxygen to the cells via a system of pumps and blood maintained at body temperature, the MIT Technology Review said.

Thanks to this system, dubbed BrainEx, millions of cells were kept in good health and were capable of functioning normally, the review said.

However, there was nothing to indicate that these cells experienced some form of consciousness, it said, citing Sestan as saying he was "convinced" they did not.

Such experiments could herald advances in restoring blood circulation at the micro level, including in the , the article said.

They could also be potentially useful in the study and treatment of some cancers and debilitating diseases such as Alzheimer's, it added.

At the same time, the article noted that Sestan himself raised some of the ethical issues involved in such research.

The key question being that if a brain is revived in this way, would a human being involved have any memories, an identity and rights?

In an open letter publised Wednesday in Nature magazine, Sestan and another 16 top scientists and philosophers said the authorities should lay down specific rules to guide them in their work on .

Recent advances have seen what are known as brain "surrogates" composed of real human —whether in tiny organoids grown in the lab, in grey matter removed from a human patient, or brain tissue implanted into animals—as part of efforts to study the brain.

The risk is that "as brain surrogates become larger and more sophisticated, the possibility of them having capabilities akin to human sentience might become less remote," the Nature article said.

"Such capacities could include being able to feel (to some degree) pleasure, pain or distress; being able to store and retrieve memories; or perhaps even having some perception of agency or awareness of self."

There is a need, the group argued, for "clear guidelines for research", and for special oversight committees.

Explore further: Ethics debate overdue in human brain research: experts

More information: Nita A. Farahany et al. The ethics of experimenting with human brain tissue, Nature (2018). DOI: 10.1038/d41586-018-04813-x

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8 comments

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a_rae
2.5 / 5 (4) Apr 28, 2018
Extremely unethical.
TheGhostofOtto1923
1 / 5 (7) Apr 28, 2018
Extremely ethical.

"Scientists keep pigs' brains alive for 36 hours"

-All we have to do is figure out how to transplant them into human bodies and we can make our own liberals.

haha
KBK
3.2 / 5 (5) Apr 28, 2018
Stupidity exists everywhere, otto. Targeting someone based on whatever is the game of a blinkered emotionally and socially illiterate retard.

Lose the polarized blinkered bullshit view and missives. Grow up.

TheGhostofOtto1923
1 / 5 (4) Apr 28, 2018
Stupidity exists everywhere, otto. Targeting someone based on whatever is the game of a blinkered emotionally and socially illiterate retard.

Lose the polarized blinkered bullshit view and missives. Grow up
Perhaps pig brains will come with a sense of humor. Even a depth of character would be an improvement.

I think its worth finding out yes? For the betterment of (man)kind? Besides

"The human species began as the hybrid offspring of a male pig and a female chimpanzee, an American geneticist has suggested."

-and its on the internet so it must be true.
TheGhostofOtto1923
1 / 5 (3) Apr 28, 2018
BTW

"In an open letter publised Wednesday in Nature magazine, Sestan and another 16 top scientists and PHILOSOPHERS said the authorities should lay down specific rules to guide them in their work on human brains."

--Philos are necessarily concerned with this research as it threatens to expose their particularly porcine origins.
https://www.youtu...KX5n-5IE

"What if the pigs are wrong?" -indeed.

Indeed.
xponen
2 / 5 (1) Apr 30, 2018
Ethical Question:

Some people think that Embryo is a Human being such that it make Abortion illegal as it sounded like murdering an Embryo cells is like murdering a Human being,

So in this case what is a speck of Brain cells and what about the dead Brain that is revived? is this a Human being? is the Brain cells that grows is called a Human being? if the Brain spoke and says he/she was a Human being so you have to treat it like a Human being?

Because according to the anti-abortion logic; this Brain is a Human being. So, once you revived them or grow them in a Mouse's skull then you can't terminate them. So, according to the abortion logic; this experiment is extremely unethical because it has to kill the Mouse (that carry the speck of brain) or the once-dead-now-revived Brain because it is now like killing a Human being.
jimmybobber
3 / 5 (2) Apr 30, 2018
That's not very logical xponen.
xponen
4.5 / 5 (2) Apr 30, 2018
@jimmybobber, I do not believe an Embryo is a Human being, I don't find it logical that Embryo have the Right of a Human being, but others might think otherwise and they appears to have a strong political support.

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