How do you imagine the line between life and
death? Maybe it’s a long continuous process? Or perhaps, it’s a quick clear-cut transition? This a question we’ve wondered about for
a long time, from ancient philosophers to modern day doctors. To Hollywood screenwriters producers who just
write their own rules. But it’s only recently that we’re discovering
surprising facts about death. We now know it doesn’t happen in a single
moment – rather, it’s a continuous process that occurs in the brain. Your brain is made of 86 billion neurons,
or brain cells, making 100 trillion connections. And your life depends on keeping these connections
alive. If your heart stops pumping blood even for
just a few minutes, the brain slips into a state of frenzy. Some neurons starve to death during the blackout. And others fight for life. Neurotransmitters, the chemicals that transmit
your nerve impulses, spill out of neurons in high concentrations. Uncontrollable electrical charges sweep across
the brain. Toxic chemicals pile up and literally burn
holes in membranes of neurons. All these events turn on programmed cell death
– like a cell’s suicide switch. Eventually, neurons dies one by one, until
the brain stops functioning altogether. And that’s what we call death. So if dying takes so many steps, is it possible
to halt or reverse the process? This is a question that some scientists are
working hard to answer. Over just the past few decades we’ve seen
huge progress in keeping people alive, by advanced surgical techniques, organ transplants,
mechanical ventilators that can do the breathing for us. We can even save a heart that has stopped
beating. So, what does it take to save an injured brain? One of the trickiest things about the brain
is that its neurons are irreplaceable. All of the neurons you’ll have for life,
more or less, you are already born with. But, scientists have recently discovered that
our brain does have a small reservoir of stem cells that can generate new neurons. Could we somehow coax these cells to turn
into new neurons and self-repair the brain’s injured tissue? Or could we help a little bit by injecting
neuronal stem cells into the brain of a patient? Hypothetically, if it becomes possible to
replace dead neurons, it should be possible to resurrect a person who has just died. There are a few scientists who are planning
to try. Other experts, however, are really against
it, calling it a bogus idea. But, experts do agree that the idea of using
stem cells to repair brain injury, in living patients, is promising. But even this line of research is not without
controversy. Many experts believe that our understanding
of stem cells is not yet at a point where we can apply it to humans and we may end up
doing more harm than good to a patient. What if the cells don’t connect properly? What if they grow uncontrollably, and like,
give you cancer? You may even see clinics that offer stem cell
therapy for a variety of conditions, from stroke to paralysis. But be warned, there’s currently no FDA
approved stem therapy for brain conditions. But scientists are hopeful that one day we’ll
get there. Scientists have shown that it is possible
to plant stem cells in the brain of mice and help them grow into fully functioning neurons
that make connections with their neighbors. In the future, these methods could be used
to repair the damage done to the brain by a stroke. Right now, several trials are underway to
transplant new neurons into the brains of people with Parkinson’s disease. Other scientists are taking a more direct
approach by finding ways to turn other types of brain cells into neurons. This approach has already worked in mice and
one day, it might work for us too. The cocktail of molecules that spurr neuronal
growth could be even put in a pill. These advances are exciting. But they also raise a philosophical question. If you agree that who you are is made by your
brain cells and their connections, what happens to you when those neurons have been replaced? Will you be a different person if your brand
new neurons connect differently? There are a lot of questions. Would you receive a brain cell transplant? Would you take a pill to grow new neurons? Or would you give that pill to a relative? And just how many cells do you think you can
have replaced without fulling becoming a whole new person? How far would you go to save your brain?

100 thoughts on “Ways to Bring the Brain Dead ‘Back to Life’”

  1. there is no 'You' its just a story generated by a feedback loop in "your" brain. Change the brain, and maybe the story changes, but the story is changing all the time anyway. Feedback from memories, environmental input, and hormonal output, are always changing the story. 'You' are not a static rigid thing that could ever hope to be preserved over time.

  2. I've thought about this from two points of view before when I did a extensive report on euthanasia in college. One from my Christian view and one from an analytical one. It easy to want to religion out of morality, but if you actually delve slightly deep into morality teachings then it leads to religious studies most of the time. Anyway, to me living is being able to be physically conscious and experience new things, learn things, and in general it making an beneficial impact on others' lives. If I was in a comatose state its my belief that I no longer truly learn anything new or make a beneficial impact on my family's and friends' lives. In general I'd become a burden to them. A burden that would drain them financially, emotionally, and physically. I wouldn't want to be kept in that state because I wouldn't be even aware.

  3. I simply don't understand the "controversy" around this topic, specifically the questions you raise at the end. "Would I take a pill that gave me more neurons?" Well, it clearly wouldn't jsut be a pill full of neurons – I'd just digest them and be done with it. So it would have to be something that promotes the production of new neurons within my body. At that point, I'm making more neurons. Where is the conundrum? It seems to me that the only arguments against this are the along the lines of anti-vax arguments, which are by and large horse shit.

  4. What if 50 years from now, some scientist watches this video and is like yes that is exactly right you can reverse brain damage! Don't listen to the doctors who say it's bogus! Seriously, YouTube videos of today that talk about the future will be fascinating when the future actually comes.

  5. People are constantly changing, but by bit, so you really are a different person, with different thoughts, different cells, and different connections every day

  6. Every time you have a new experience, your neurons make new connections with each other. Are you the same person as you were 5 years ago? Probably not, but the fact that you're willing to stay alive for the future possibility of a better version of you is why humans exist. Neural regeneration just speeds up that process.

  7. I am surprised that CRISPR causes so many debates while prolonging life sounds like an obvious thing we should all do in order to live until 150 years old. It feels like the line between our instinct for survival and the quest for eternal youth has been blurred out, an idea which might already be thorny in and of itself, but that becomes even more dangerous when we take into account the fact that the global population keeps increasing while our resources are thinning. Do we really have the means to sustain a baby boom and an oldies boom? :/
    I dunno, I can see all the benefits that there could be in being able to cure a young person suffering from a neurological disease, but at what age do we decide to stop practicing this intervention? Where do we draw the line between saving a life and therapeutic obstinacy? Does anyone know if this debate is re-actualized regularly? I would be interested to read how this tricky question is answered legally speaking.
    Thank you Vanessa for all your great work 🙂 It is always a pleasure to watch your videos!
    Best wishes from Paris

  8. The way this video started I thought it would be about information-theoretic death, but it ended up talking more about the Ship of Theseus thought experiment.

    Cell-line therapy is certainly more immediately tractable than the ultra high-resolution scanning required to model and simulate or physically recreate the entire nervous system (including the peripheral one, basically the entire body, or you have the IO problem and brain in a jar scenarios instead of just the usual clone paradoxes). The cell-at-a-time repair of the CNS would almost certainly cause changes to the behavior of the system, but how significant they would be? I don't think it is completely clear if degraded tracts from damaged or dead cells would act as guiding pathways for new cells as they can in the PNS. It seems unlikely that new cells would wire up exactly the same way, the entire organ is very mutable to allow its plasticity in the first place… Seems like lots of research is required, and you can't really ask rats and other model organisms if they feel they are the same at higher levels of cognition typical in humans.

    Simulation wise, right now we can't even model C.elegans particularly well (and its nervous system isn't even the same basic architecture as ours, it doesn't generate spiking action potentials), so a vertebrate system seems beyond reach for modelling, at least until we get much better computers. Duplication wise, perhaps you can 3D print a replacement from cultured cells with reasonably foreseeable tech. I suspect a lot of the practical problems would be similar to those associated with death processes, how do you perfuse an organ while you print it? Do you hold it in some kind of reduced metabolic state then switch it on once complete? Can you even print strong connective tissues, at some level, say atom by atom you probably can, but with more tractable tech like bubble-jet printing cell suspensions you'd have to program and induce a fixation phase of some description that solidifies the assembled tissue into a more functional state… All while keeping it viable. Of course to duplicate something you also need a map of the original at sufficient resolution, the only practical technologies right now are destructive to the original, and the resolution required isn't completely clear. Do you need just the connectome? How much metabolic state is important? Can you just dig out the ultramicrotome and step/repeat a microscope a bazillion times, store it all on a crapton of hard disks, then synthesise a new brain from all that data? When does the important information degrade in the specimen under scan?

    It is fun stuff to think about, but we need orders of magnitude better (non destructive) neuroimaging, data storage, mechanised computation, and nano-scale assembly to really start attacking these kinds of problems in practice.

  9. Love your video and your wonderful voice. Always makes me happy to watch and learn from your Teachings. Thank you …

  10. if i have a stroke my brain cells would be altered too. does that mean i am no longer the same person?

    of course not. though it can cause changes in personality as i personally know from a family member. but they are still the same person.

    i think how we view personality and individuality is not as much of a constant as we think it is. our brains change, little by little, all the time as new information literally floods in.

  11. How far would I go to save my brain? I would kill anyone and everyone and destroy all life as we know it just to save myself.

  12. In a secular/atheistic worldview I guess people would think that you are only what your neurons are. But in a Christian perspective, everyone has an identity beyond your physical body.
    Instead of spending so much effort trying to save the fallen and corruptible flesh, secure your eternal destiny first. (I'm not saying medicine is not important. The bottom line is that material treatment can not truly save a person)

  13. So if I want to reach a state of death without my brain experiencing the pain and discomfort of dying I should aim for a sufficiently powerful explosion to kill all my braincells in one go? I guess I already knew that, but I still wonder if the sudden stop from a long fall might accomplish that as well.

  14. I don't think I will ever be able to come back to my normal daydreams instead of this while waiting for farfalle to cook…

  15. my neurons change their connections and weights whenever i learn new things, my brain is constantly in a state of flux to some degree or another. for the most part i think you are you only because you say you are and everyone around you agrees. the ship of theseus is the same ship so long as it's called the same, it's the only called that, and everyone (or most people) agree it's the same ship. so, was phineas gage the same person after the accident as before…by these criteria…no. everyone around says he wasn't the same, i don't know the extent he considered himself the same, but by all accounts he was considerably different.

    and by this same criteria i suppose i'm not the same person as was born 31 years ago…all those cells (save maybe my neurons) have been replaced, even in the neuron i imagine most the atoms in those neurons were replaced, my body is different, my mind is different, really only my genetic code remains the same.

  16. Great concept, presentation and editing. Really superb editing. And your voice was nice and calm. Miss Frankenstein, you did a great job of researching and presenting an interesting subject. And the music really worked well this time too.

  17. This is very thought provoking! I can't wait for science to progress that far for the sake of living longer.

  18. It would be cool if specific memories could be targeted and the neurons killed and then replaced. There would be collateral damage but people with PTSD might not mind. They would still need therapy but not having the memories would be helpful. I guess this could be a technique for reprogramming. Don't tell the politicians.

  19. This video is making me think a lot. If death is a slow process and one can come back to life theoretically, then
    1)'human 3D printer' can make a living man!
    2) Intention behind mummification was right!
    3) birth is also a slow process.
    4) instead of declaring dead by a doctor, he/she may need to say beyond repair. That will be crazy!

  20. "if you agree that who you are is made by your brain cells and all of their connections. what happens to you when these neurons are replaced".
    The same thing as when you get a traumatic brain injury and lose a swath of cells (usually in a local area)… it's not a philosophical question, we have thousands of years of evedence that tampering with you brain changes you, and that's no reason to be afraid to try to fix you by tampering with it either.

  21. If my person is defined by the collective of neurons in my brain, it doesn't matter, whether those "repair-kits" alter my brain since I would already be another person than the one I was before having the brain injury. I can't imagine the agony people must feel who lost either their mental capability or their motoric abilities to do things they loved due to a stroke (which also can alter your personality drastically afaik) or something like that. To me it would be utterly devastating, especially if I wasn't independent from other people to live my life anymore. I would clench to any chance to regain my abilities, probably even if there would be a risk of worsening the situation. Hopefully those amazing scientists can figure a way out sometime (in near future)…
    My grandpa suffered from a heavy stroke, which caused him to be bound to a wheelchair. He also wasn't able to speak, except for a few words. After some years he caught a serious infection in hospital and didn't want it to be cured, just to pass out already. It happened when I was 11 years old (10 years ago). I would love him to see what kind of person I've become.

  22. This new neurones mens new brain which means not you. You are your connected brain cells. You are your connections between cells.

  23. "We may end up doing more harm than good for the patient"
    Uhm… what's worse than dying? 😛

    And yes, I would take the pill!

  24. learning new things make new connections anyway, so unless your replacing a huge portion of the brains cells, I think itll be ok.

  25. "Hey, honey! Looks like we're all out of neurons, can you go over to the neighbors and see if we can borrow a cup of them please?"

  26. Is it actually true that a stopped heart can be re-started? I was under the impression that once a heartbeat stops / flatlines, that's it.

  27. I think we should try. I lost my stepdad, he came home from "operation Iraqi freedom" with an infection in in organs or blood it's been so long I can't remember. Nobody knew about it and he stopped breathing one morning talking to my mom about a week from coming home. I was 16, I saw him turn yellow and pale. The cops and ambulance took what felt like hours to get there and I still hear my mom screaming. He was stabilized at the hospital but was a vegetable and ultimately did not survive. If there is a chance we can bring people back who've suffered brain damage we have to try.

  28. The west has lost our way in culture, politics and science. It all comes down to our culture. Make way for China and Japan to make the new biggest scientific discoveries and bring mankind forward.

  29. Hello Mam, I'm a big fan of yours.
    But I request you to please make a video on "Which part of the brain does What??"

  30. WOAH! brain cells fighting for life? I wonder what it feels like when your brain goes in that phase of electrical frenzy.

    That must be like a once in lifetime experience.

    Sorry for that.

  31. My grandpa had 3 heart-attacks and after the 3rd he went into a coma, he was fine as his vitals were better but he would not wake up. after around 2 days of being in a coma, his kidneys failed,then his liver,stomach,intestines,then lungs all stopped working. He opened his eyes and stared at the ceiling for the next week, he was said to be brain dead. Maybe toxins from organ failure destroyed his brain I'm not sure. When someone opens their eyes while in a coma what does this mean "he passed September 22nd"

  32. I love your idea of using foods to explain things metaphorically that's advanced in my opinion and I love your accent as well!!!

  33. This is called clickbait – there is no way to return from brain death and as expected – this video contains no such "ways". Please don't..

  34. not that's the Lazarus effect can't stop anything u basically raising up the dead I'll pass on trying this I just heard my aunt is brains dead and I will not recommend this

  35. sometimes, when i focus on my head while closing the eyes i feel a slight tickling in my head and when i focus deeply tickles more, what is this mean ?

  36. I don’t know why the woman in video sounds like she’s grasping for air or suffocating while she’s talking…?

  37. If anything happens to my brain, I would TOTALLY volunteer to undergo experimental treatments. Worst case scenario, I die. Best case, I advanced the human race just a little bit.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *