Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : May 3rd 2014 Contents A36
body & soul
Guardian www.guardian.co.tt Saturday, May 3, 2014
South and Central, it's your turn for fun as the magic comes to the
Southern Academy of the Performing Arts!!! Crazy Catholic and
D C Shell Theatre will take you, your family and friends into Fairy Land!!
From the producers of Rapunzel, Aladdin, Beauty and the Beast, Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty,
Snow White, Rumpelstilskin, Red Riding Hood, Bollywood and Phantom of the NAPA
comes a brand new play based on the story by the Brothers Grimm.
Another memorable show for the entire family,
written and directed by the Crazy Catholic.
You are invited to fairyland - Magic,
Romance, Comedy and Non-Stop Fun
Please add us!
D C SHELL THEATRE
and CRAZY CATHOLI
Don't dream... come!
FRIDAY 2nd MAY - 8.30 p.m.
SATURDAY 3rd MAY - 7.30 p.m.
SUNDAY 4th MAY - 5.30 pm
FRIDAY 2nd MAY - 10.00 a.m.
SPECIAL SCHOOL SHOW: All schools invited
BUY 1 TICKET: Get 1 ticket free ($150)
Produced by D C Shell Theatre
Pioneers in Family
Fairy Tales, Bollywood
& Clean Comedy.
SAPA box office opens from
Wednesday 30 April at 11am daily
732-5796, 683-6496, 796-4272, 750-0104
In the next few months, highly
secretive US military researchers say
they will unveil new advances toward
developing a brain implant that could
one day restore a wounded soldier s
The Defense Advanced Research
Projects Agency (DARPA) is forging
ahead with a four-year plan to build a
sophisticated memory stimulator, as
part of President Barack Obama s $100
million initiative to better understand
the human brain.
The science has never been done
before, and raises ethical questions
about whether the human mind should
be manipulated in the name of staving
off war injuries or managing the ageing
Some say those who could benefit
include the five million Americans with
Alzheimer s disease and the nearly
300,000 US military men and women
who have sustained traumatic brain
injuries in Iraq and Afghanistan.
"If you have been injured in the line
of duty and you can t remember your
family, we want to be able to restore
those kinds of functions," DARPA pro-
gramme manager Justin Sanchez said
this week at a conference in the US
capital convened by the Center for Brain
Health at the University of Texas.
"We think that we can develop neu-
roprosthetic devices that can directly
interface with the hippocampus, and
can restore the first type of memories
we are looking at, the declarative mem-
ories," he said.
Declarative memories are recollec-
tions of people, events, facts and figures,
and no research has ever shown they
can be put back once they are lost.
What researchers have been able to
do so far is help reduce tremors in peo-
ple with Parkinson s disease, cut back
on seizures among epileptics and even
boost memory in some Alzheimer s
patients through a process called deep
Those devices were inspired by car-
diac pacemakers, and pulse electricity
into the brain much like a steady drum
beat, but they don t work for every-
Experts say a much more nuanced
approach is needed when it comes to
"Memory is patterns and connec-
tions," explained Robert Hampson, an
associate professor at Wake Forest Uni-
"For us to come up with a memory
prosthetic, we would actually have to
have something that delivers specific
patterns," said Hampson, adding that
he could not comment specifically on
DARPA s plans.
Hampson s research on rodents and
monkeys has shown that neurons in
the hippocampus---the part of the brain
that processes memory---fire differently
when they see red or blue, or a picture
of a face versus a type of food.
Equipped with this knowledge,
Hampson and colleagues have been
able to extend the animals short-term,
working memory using brain prosthet-
ics to stimulate the hippocampus.
They could coax a drugged monkey
into performing closer to normal at a
memory task, and confuse it by manip-
ulating the signal so that it would
choose the opposite image of what it
According to Hampson, to restore a
human s specific memory, scientists
would have to know the precise pattern
for that memory.
Instead, scientists in the field think
they could improve a person s memory
by simply helping the brain work more
like it used to before the injury.
"The idea is to restore a function
back to normal or near normal of the
memory processing areas of the brain
so that the person can access their
formed memories, and so that they can
form new memories as needed," Hamp-
It s easy to see how manipulating
memories in people could open up an
ethical minefield, said Arthur Caplan,
a medical ethicist at New York Univer-
sity s Langone Medical Center.
"When you fool around with the brain
you are fooling around with personal
identity," said Caplan, who advises
DARPA on matters of synthetic biology
but not neuroscience.
"The cost of altering the mind is you
risk losing sense of self, and that is a
new kind of risk we never faced."
When it comes to soldiers, the poten-
tial for erasing memories or inserting
new ones could interfere with combat
techniques, make warriors more violent
and less conscientious, or even thwart
investigations into war crimes, he said.
"If I could take a pill or put a helmet
on and have some memories wiped out,
maybe I don t have to live with the con-
sequences of what I do," Caplan said.
DARPA s Web site says that because
its "programmes push the leading edge
of science," the agency "periodically
convenes scholars with expertise in
these issues to discuss relevant ethical,
legal, and social issues."
Just who might be first in line for the
experiments is another of the many
Sanchez said the path forward will
be formally announced in the next few
"We have got some of the most tal-
ented scientists in our country that will
be working on this project. So stay
tuned. Lots of exciting things will be
coming in the very near future." (AFP)
Coming soon: a brain implant to restore memory
The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) is forging ahead with a four-year plan to build a
sophisticated memory stimulator, as part of President Barack Obama's $100 million initiative to better
understand the human brain. AFP PHOTO
YOUR DAILY HEALTH
News and Advice
"If you have been injured
in the line of duty and
you can't remember your
family, we want to be
able to restore those
kinds of functions,"
manager Justin Sanchez
said this week at a
conference in the US
capital convened by the
Center for Brain Health at
the University of Texas.
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