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Surprising Science

To Whom Would You Bequeath All Your Memories?

When your biological organism passes on, who would you choose to give all your Earthly memories to (if anyone)? It may be possible to store and read memories from dead brains, say researchers. 

What’s the Latest Development?

To whom would you bequeath all the memories of your life? That is a question we may one day face if cellular preservation continues to advance, allowing neural connections to be stored and “read” after a person’s biological death. One group, the Brain Preservation Foundation, is offering a $100,000 prize to the first scientific team to demonstrate “that the entire synaptic connectivity (‘connectome’) of mammalian brains can be perfectly preserved using either chemical preservation or more expensive cryopreservation techniques.”

What’s the Big Idea?

Some chemical preservation procedures already allow for certain species’ connectomes—zebrafish, for example—to be scanned and uploaded. While the reading process is not yet sophisticated enough to extract entire memories, that is the direction in which research is going. John Smart of the Brain Preservation society believes that “having the option of chemical brain preservation at death, if the science is validated, may help all our societies become significantly more science-, future-, progress-, preservation-, sustainability-, truth and justice-, and community-oriented in coming years.”

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