NewScienstist, Helen Thomson, 11 November 2014
Wirelessly linked to cells in a mouse (Image: Victor Habbick
Visions/Science Photo Library)
Could a futuristic society of humans with the power to control their own biological functions ever become reality?
It's not as out there as it sounds, now the technical foundations have been laid. Researchers have created a link between thoughts and cells, allowing people to switch on genes in mice using just their thoughts.
"We wanted to be able to use brainwaves to control genes. It's the first time anyone has linked synthetic biology and the mind," says Martin Fussenegger, a bioengineer at ETH Zurich in Basel, Switzerland, who led the team behind the work.
They hope to use the technology to help people who are "locked-in" – that is, fully conscious but unable to move or speak – to do things like self-administer pain medication. It might also be able to help people with epilepsy control their seizures.
In theory, the technology could be used for non-medical purposes, too. For example, we could give ourselves a hormone burst on demand, much like in the Culture – Iain M. Banks's utopian society, where people are able to secrete hormones and other chemicals to change their mood.
Mouse meet man
Fussenegger's team started by inserting a light-responsive gene into human kidney cells in a dish. The gene is activated, or expressed, when exposed to infrared light. The cells were engineered so that when the gene activated, it caused a cascade of chemical reactions leading to the expression of another gene – the one the team wanted to switch on.
Next, they put the cells into an implant about the size of a 10-pence piece or a US quarter, alongside an infrared LED that could be controlled wirelessly. The implant was inserted under the skin of a mouse. A semi-permeable membrane allowed vital nutrients from the animal's blood supply to reach the cells inside.
With the mouse part of the experiment prepared, the team turned to the human volunteers. Eight people, wearing EEG devices that monitored their brainwaves, were taught how to conjure up different mental states that the device could recognise by their distinctive brain waves.
The volunteers were shown meditation techniques to produce a "relaxed" pattern of brainwaves, and played a computer game to produce patterns that reflected deep concentration. They also used a technique known as biofeedback, in which they learned by trial and error to control their thoughts to switch on a set of lights on a computer.
By linking the volunteer's EEG device to the wireless LED implant in the mouse, they were able to switch on the LED using any of the three mental states. This activated the light-responsive gene in the kidney cells, which, in turn, led to the activation of the target gene. A human protein was produced that passed through the implant's membrane and into the rodent's bloodstream, where it could be detected. "We picked a protein that made an enzyme that was easy to identify in the mouse as a proof of concept, but essentially we think we could switch on any target gene we liked," says Fussenegger.
The possibilities this could open up extend as far as your imagination. For example, the implant cells could produce hormones, so how about giving yourself a burst of oxytocin before a stressful social event – just by concentrating on a computer game?
That's possible in principle, Fussenegger says, but for now his team is focused on creating a device to help people who are locked-in, or those with chronic pain, medicate themselves. For people with epilepsy, a similar device could potentially pick up the specific electrical patterns that appear in the brain just before a seizure. It might be possible to engineer cells to react to this pattern and release drugs to lessen the seizure.
While the applications are futuristic, the work itself is very interesting, says Florian Wurm, head of cellular biotechnology at EPFL in Lausanne, Switzerland. He says it shows for the first time that you can link together two really important ideas – synthetic biology and mind control.
"But we have to consider the ethical and legal challenges associated with this kind of technology," Wurm says. "The moment you can control genes by thought you might be able to interfere with human behaviour, perhaps against someone's wishes." He doesn't want to paint a negative picture, though. "We shouldn't close our eyes to these inventions. It's not going to be made into a medical device any time soon but it's interesting to consider who it could help."
Fussenegger says he would like to start a clinical trial within 10 years.
Journal reference: Nature Communications, DOI: 10.1038/ncomms6392
This article will appear in print under the headline "Genes controlled by human thought"
"... Mining the Akash - The Role of Innate
What I'm going to tell next, we have given you before. However, I wish to explain it better in this communication. Your innate is also a governor of what you personally need. Let me explain: Turn a page with me. We have talked in the past about mining the Akash. So let us open that door for a moment. Is it possible, dear one, that you could go into the vast storehouse of the attributes of your past lives and pick out something that you need today? The answer is yes. It's called mining the Akash, and it is a staple of the Kryon teaching. However, the way it's accomplished by the individual Human is really difficult to describe. It's a personal intuitive process. However, one attribute of it that is often misunderstood is that permission from the innate is needed. This is because the innate smart body knows what you need. It is then the governor, or the filter, giving you permission regarding what can be pulled out of your Akash and used. It will say no to frivolous things and yes to the things that will allow you to cure yourself of disease, live longer, and increase the efficiency of your DNA. It's a smart body regulator.
Innate doesn't care how you look. It cares about your health. If you want to go into your Akash and pull out something that you need for survival, it's right there with you. If you want to make clearer skin, it won't respond. Do you see what I mean? It's the governor for mining the Akash. By the way, the Akash is very ready to be used for this. [Kryon wink]
You have earned what you've lived, dear ones, and it's very available. It lies in a quantum soup of lifetime information that is ready to be used. If you have a disease in your body right now, and perhaps you want to mine the Akash in a way that will create healing, you can. Like all nonlinear things, it requires a new, mature consciousness and practice to work. But the body is ready for you to "go get" the cellular structure of a past life that had no disease. The blueprint for this resides within you since you earned it and lived it. The innate is responsible for spontaneous remission! Science has no idea how a Human does this. The innate can help you "go get" the things within your earned Akash and place them into your cellular structure. That's how smart it is! Imagine clearing disease so completely that there is no sign it was ever there? It happens all the time. Imagine being able to drop a chemical dependency overnight? It's exactly the same principle.
Did you ever sit in a meeting and something is said or a feeling can happen, and you get chills? What are they? You might say, "They are chills of validation." Guess where they came from? The innate! The innate has the ability to signal you the truth. The brain does not. In fact, your brain will often get in the way. It's the brain that contains your box of belief. It's the brain that contains the perception of who you are based on experience and memory. It's your 3D survival instrument. But the brain can't give truth. It can only give you what it perceives as the truth, based on logical, processed, computed, synaptic reasoning and only based on your past experience.
Your brain can tell you not to touch the stove because of what happened once before. But it can't give you chills of validation from information it does not have. The intellect wants you to believe that your brain is supreme. However, the brain is only one part of the body system and not a very intuitive part. It is the innate that knows the truth. The innate is connected to the quantum parts of your DNA and, therefore, also knows of your spirituality and the truth of God inside.
The Next Step
One of the attributes of the future Human Being is to build a bridge between your Human consciousness and your innate. This is one of the three things in the cellular parts of the nine attributes lesson, the Human energies part. This needs to be a bridge of new tools so you no longer have to muscle-test. In fact, you can become your own medical intuitive. Doesn't this make sense? So, when a virus or bacteria invades your body - something your brain can't warn you about - you will know it anyway! This bridge will begin to complete the Human Being's evolution and is a logical next step for longer life. I know this makes sense to you. You should be able to sense these things when they occur rather than going to a doctor for tests. Going to a doctor for tests is not a bad thing, but it should validate what you know is happening and not be the discovery of it. ..."