Christian Long

Christopher deCharms: Scans the Brain in Real Time

In TED Talks on May 22, 2010 at 11:51 pm

Reflection by ABBIE P.

Original TED page w/ speaker bio, links, comments, etc:

Christopher deCharms:  Scans the Brain in Real Time

Just the thought of being able to see someone’s brain without cracking open their skull is amazing to me. But, to be able to look inside your own mind, and watch your brain function instantly, is absolutely remarkable. Although there are other methods in which you can study brain function, this is better. As deCharms said, those processes are extremely time consuming. I like what he said in the beginning, about shrinking a rocketship and injecting it into the body. It makes me think of Neil Armstrong stepping onto the moon for the first time. The brain isn’t just something that we study, it’s something to be explored.

If I’m understanding him correctly, he’s saying that in time, we will be able to look at the area of our brain that’s causing something we do, and be able to control it. Of course, we already have control of our arms, for the most part, but there are other things. If we knew what part of our brain caused depression, maybe we would be able to cure it. Or seizures, for that matter, if someone were to be able to control that part of their brain, they could stop it from happening. Maybe that’s a little unrealistic, but there are so many things that we could do medically with this kind of technology. I know for a fact that if I could control the part of my brain that helped me focus, I would, because taking ADHD medication is not fun. With this technology, maybe someone with Bipolar Disorder would be able to control their fits.

To answer his final question, I hope we will further advance this technology and find actual cures for mental disorders. I know that there are probably lots of other things this could be used for, but mental disorders are the first thing that comes to mind, because it’s personal to me. I know that having ADHD can’t be as bad as having something like cancer, but the medications don’t only make people focus, for me, it makes me unable to eat, my emotions are much more concentrated when let out, so I have a tendency to let out a blind rage over the smallest things. It may not be the most important thing in the world, but it’s something that could lead to much more.

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