The Curse of Neuroscience
- In 2014 a Japanese scientist, Yoshiki Sasai, created neurons out of stem cells. This was widely reported as a major neuroscience experiment of the year, and possibly the most important of the decade. Now it is theoretically possible to create a totally artificial brain. What was less reported (in fact, not reported at all) is that Sesai was already dead when the paper appeared: he had committed suicide right after succeeding in creating artificial neurons.
- In 2014 Xu Liu, a Chinese student at the MIT, invented a way to alter the memories of a mouse. A few months later he died http://www.forevermissed.com/xu-liu/ The cause of death was not revealed, but he was not sick and not killed, and the most likely cause is suicide (possibly the Chinese family was ashamed and did not want to admit it). Since then there have been lots of announcements from other labs (incl Stanford) of experiments that altered the memories of animals. It is just a matter of time before someone does it on a human brain.
- Most of the research on artificially altering brains is going on at this MIT lab: https://tonegawalab.mit.edu/ The lab was started by a Nobel Prize winner https://www.nobelprize.org/nobel_prizes/medicine/laureates/1987/tonegawa-bio.html https://www.britannica.com/biography/Tonegawa-Susumu After 2011 he focused on studying the brain. You'll find lots of articles about his experiments on memory, usually credited to his graduate students (Liu was one of his students). The breakthrough came in 2011: they discovered that a technique called optogenetics (now very popular) can create the false memory of fear in the brain region that stores memories (the hippocampus). This paper: http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v484/n7394/abs/nature11028.html Two months later his 18-year-old son Satto Tonegawa, who had just enrolled at the MIT, committed suicide.