They stitched these poor mice! Guess these scientists haven’t read the Stitch Trilogy, otherwise they’d know what could go wrong with this picture…
I have some intriguing – if not slightly disturbing news – to share with all of the Stitch fans out there. Apparently, real-world scientists have figured out how to perform a “stitch” (as in, IMPLANT FALSE MEMORIES!) in the brains of mice. Seriously!! Look at this (and it’s from The Economist, not some random shady website):
In order to study false-memory formation, Mr Ramirez and Dr Liu had therefore to isolate and manipulate only those cells involved in storing a particular memory they had deliberately created. They did this by fitting as many hippocampal cells as possible with a clever genetic switch. To work at all, this switch has first to be primed by a process (known as an action potential) which a nerve cell undergoes during learning—meaning that it can operate only in those cells that have learned something. Thus did Mr Ramirez and Dr Liu confine their experiment to the relevant cells. Once primed, the switch can be activated by shining a light at it. This activation mimics an action potential—fooling the cell into learning whatever is happening to the animal at the time, in addition to what it had already learned, thus linking the two things in the animal’s mind. The researchers could therefore choose which events they would try to conflate into a single false memory. Having smuggled their switches into the animals’ hippocampuses using viruses, Mr Ramirez and Dr Liu were ready to start the experiment proper. <continue reading>
Stimulating the targeted nerves/cells to create a memory, using a chemical (in this case, viral) agent to activate the switch… Is it just me, or does the process they used sound uncannily similar to what was described in the Stitch Trilogy? Creepy!!! Just goes to show you – science fiction only stays fiction for so long…
In slightly less terrifying news, we’ve also got an amazingly entertaining review up today from brand-new blogger Bailey over at Books From You To Review! Due to a brain fart on my end (I sent her the wrong book, oops!), Bailey ended up reading Shudder without realizing it was the second book in the trilogy (the first person I know of to do so). But even so, she still somehow managed to figure out what was going on and enjoy the book! Here’s what she said to say:
This is my first ever book review on my blog and it kicked of with a BANG! This story made me gasp with joy <continue reading>
I’m beyond honored that Bailey chose Shudder as her first ever review! Much luck with the new blog and thanks so much for hosting today’s stop on the Shudder tour!