"... in an effort to revive the brains of those being kept alive solely through life support. Stem cells will be injected directly into the brain..."

More at:


New to LessWrong?

New Comment
12 comments, sorted by Click to highlight new comments since: Today at 10:17 AM

And then everyone will agree they weren't dead to begin with.

The Telegraph post has this link to the ReAnima project, but there's no content there (or rather, there's a login page). Here is the official PR from the company. Here is the trial. There's no technical information on either page, in terms of what exactly they intend to do. They talk a lot about "BQ-A", which is their name for the (secret?) active substance they're using.

They hope to achieve:

Primary Outcome Measures: Reversal of brain death as noted in clinical examination or EEG [ Time Frame: 15 days ] [ Designated as safety issue: No ]

The study stared in April 2016 and will conclude in April 2017, presumably because it'll take them that long to "recruit" the 20 participants they're hoping to get.

[This comment is no longer endorsed by its author]Reply
[This comment is no longer endorsed by its author]Reply

I find the use of the term "clinical trial" amusing, as it implies that they are using a randomized design. Yes, randomization is usually necessary but if you are somehow able to revive dead brains (!) I really don't see much of a need for a control group..

On a related point, I wish someone had implemented Robin Hanson's idea for prediction markets on the outcome of scientific studies.

[This comment is no longer endorsed by its author]Reply

This is cool. Yay science!

There was a book, I think, about the process of death, going into detail about the sequential cascading system failures after your heart stops.

Anyone got a reference for the book, or a similar article?

I wonder why they're trying this on brain-dead patients first. If you've found a way to regenerate brain tissue, aren't there a million other applications besides this one? Why not use it on patients with neurodegenerative diseases or something?

Also, it seems like the efficacy of the treatment would depend heavily on where the lesions were. If the stuff that corresponds to 'you' is intact, and there's an injury elsewhere preventing your functioning, then this is great. But if it isn't, then it seems like you just get brand new brain tissue, with none of the information that was previously stored in it, so that the 'revived' patients are less like Lazarus and more like Terry Schiavo, or, best case, an infant.

I wonder why they're trying this on brain-dead patients first.

Nothing to lose.

If your brain is gradually degenerating, a treatment that might fix it or might (say) give you cancer and kill you horribly in short order might well seem like a good deal on balance, but I expect you'd have to think about it. But if you're already brain-dead, nothing this treatment does to you can make things worse.

The question I'd be asking instead is: Why haven't they published their results showing success in (say) rats? Except actually I probably wouldn't bother asking because the chance of this being anything other than bullshit seems so very very small.

Worst case is IMHO that a new person will be created in an old and damaged body.

How plausible that is depends, I think, on what you mean by "person".


How would you tell, what would this "new person" theory predict differently then the old person theory?

They are probably thinking of person as a soul. Kickstarting the brain might give you different thoughts or some other trivial thing, but the ghost should be the same, right?

I first wrote the quote below first. I'm not so sure now. Maybe some personality is basically damage.

No, I don't think you get a new person. Any damage or distortion won't project onto another person in mindspace, but just a broken or distorted version of you. There may be less of you, but not more of someone else.