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我们可以给大脑编程吗? – 译学馆
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我们可以给大脑编程吗?

Did We Just Figure Out How to Program a Brain?

据说人们总是将大脑
You hear people make comparisons all the time about
比作一台大型
how your brain is like one big,
且极其复杂的电脑
ultra-sophisticated computer.
这很恰当
And that’s fine,
但这一想法确实有所局限
but the idea really only goes so far,
因为人们并不能真的像对台式电脑那样
because like you can’t really program your brain
对大脑进行编程
like you can your desktop,
这着实令人失望
which is kind of a bummer.
我想了解中国功夫!
I want to know Kung Fu!
如果可以深入其中
And if we could just get in there
并开始操控神经细胞
and start manipulating neurons,
我们便可解决大脑和
we could solve a lot of the struggles
身体产生的诸多问题
our brains and bodies cause.
但如果我们能做到呢?
we could solve a lot of the struggles
最近 采用老鼠做实验的科学家已
Recently scientists working with mice have
能够将新信号发送至它们的脑中
been able to send new signals into their brains—
此类信号似乎十分自然
ones that seemed so natural,
以至于老鼠可能意识不到这非自己产生的
the mice may have no idea they weren’t their own.
有点像科幻小说
It seems a little sci-fi,
但这是真实的研究
but it’s real research.
可能会在某天衍生
And someday it could lead
出极其神奇的新疗法
to some pretty amazing new treatments.
这些研究围绕一项名为光遗传学的
These studies center around a branch
神经系统科学研究的分支而展开
of neuroscientific research called optogenetics,
利用了通过基因操控被嵌入
which makes use of light-sensitive proteins inserted
神经细胞中的光敏感性蛋白质
into neurons through genetic manipulation.
此类蛋白质一旦存在
Once the proteins are there,
调查人员便可只通过一道光控制
researchers can control the firing of those neurons
神经细胞的活跃情况
using just a flash of light.
我们确实全面地研究了
We actually did a whole episode on the mechanics
光遗传学的机能与渊源
and history of optogenetics
这一点我们稍后详述
that we’ll link to after this.
但总的观点是
But the general idea is
这一方法改变了
that this method alters what
某种细胞受体的反应对象
certain receptors on cells respond to.
相比于等待化学神经递质
Instead of waiting for a chemical neurotransmitter to
命令细胞受体完成工作的方式
tell them to do their job,
被更改的受体则会通过
an altered receptor will take the command
由电线传输的一道光束承接指令
from a flash of light transmitted through a wire.
光遗传学于2005年首进科学文艺领域
When optogenetics first enteredthe scientific literature in 2005,
最初的技术涉及利用光充分照射
the initial technique involved flooding
大脑的相对大片区域
a relatively large area of the brain
并予以刺激的方式
with light to activate it.
这仍是目前通常采取的方式
This is still generally the way it’s done for now,
且确有成效
and it does work.
通过这种方法 我们已经能够让神经元群发生反应
With it, we’ve been able to get groups of neurons to fire,
甚至诱导啮齿动物实现行为的改变
and even induce behavioral changes in rodents.
例如一项利用光遗传学
Like, one experiment used optogenetics
使老鼠绕圈行走的实验
to get rats to walk in circles,
着实令人惊异
which is pretty amazing,
又有些许悲哀
also a little upsetting.
为什么我现在要这么做
“Why is—I have to do this now.
这就是我的命
This is my life.
因为我是老鼠
I’m a rat!”
但这一方法的弊端在于
But one of the downsides of this method is
用光照射整片脑域而形成的定位并不精确
that lighting up a whole area can be imprecise.
试图分离你想研究的
Trying to tease apart what’s happening
特定神经元中所发生的情况
with the specific neurons you want to study,
与在多方面刺激的影响下顺带产生的无关反应
versus what’s coming from ones lit up in the crossfire,
这可能会十分棘手
can be pretty darn tricky.
然而 时代正在变化
However, the times, they are a-changin’.
多亏了技术与生物的进步
Thanks to advances in tech and biology,
一科学家团队于今日研究出一种方法
a group of scientists recently figured out a way
可以靶向定位特殊的个体神经元
to target specific, individual neurons,
而非相对大片的组织
rather than a relatively large patch of tissue.
成果于2018年4月在
They published their results
《自然》杂志上发表
in April 2018 in the journal Nature,
并为某些科幻小说作知识辅证
and brace yourself for some sci-fi…
因为科学家们使用全息图进行科研
Because they’re doing it using holograms.
可视全息图是你在《星际迷航》
Visual holograms–the kind
或《星球大战》中看到的那样
you see in Star Trek or Star Wars.
运用多重光束投射影像
Use multiple beams of light to project an image.
但总的来说 全息摄影
But holography in general is really
的确仅与光的干扰有关
just about light interference,
这是这一技术所依赖的
and that’s what this technique relies on.
团队将这一方法称作“3D-SHOT”
The team called their method 3D-SHOT,
其全称是 运用短时调焦的三维
which stands for three-dimensional scanless
非扫描性全息光遗传学技术
holographic optogenetics with temporal focusing,
我很高兴它拥有这么好的缩略名!
which I’m glad they have such a good acronym for that!
不同于原先的光遗传学技术
Unlike the original optogenetics technique,
“3D-SHOT”将多种光源聚焦于
3D-SHOT focuses light from several sources
个体目标神经元
on individual target neurons.
只有在所有光线透射经过的微小区域中的特定的神经元
Only the specific neurons in the tiny area
才能接受到足够的光线以被激活
all the light crosses receive enough light to activate.
这可以摒除许多非计划中的反应
That can eliminate a lot of unintended firing,
因此这些结果会更清晰得多
so these results are much less muddy,
似乎也更高效
and it seems effective.
运用此方法的科学家早已观察到
Scientists using this method have already observed
老鼠的大脑会在受刺激之时
mice brains firing at a natural timing
会以自然的速度和频率放电
and frequency when stimulated.
科学家可以根据细胞
They can tell based on the amount
所消耗的钙量进行分辨
of calcium the cells are using
这有助于判断神经放电速率
which is a good estimate for the rate of neural firing.
因为这一放电过程
And because that firing appears
似乎的确模拟出了
to really closely mimic the way
大脑发现和处理刺激的自然方式
their brains would naturally detect and process stimuli,
看起来对于那些老鼠来说
it’s likely that to those mice,
运用“3D-SHOT”产生的
any experiences induced using
任何感应体验都是非常自然可行的
3D-SHOT would be pretty realistic.
不幸的是 我是说我们不能去向老鼠求证
I mean, unfortunately we cannot ask the mice about this,
但如果我们能够刺激其大脑
but if we can stimulate their brains
使其产生的神经活动模式
into firing in the same patterns
类似于看到 感觉到
as it would when say,
或嗅到某真实事物时
seeing, feeling, or smelling something real,
这似乎合情合理
that seems reasonable.
一种可以测试此假设的方法是
One way we can test this hypothesis is
观察真实的行为改变
by observing actual behavioral changes,
例如轻敲开关
like a flick of a switch
使老鼠停止自己正在进行的活动
causing a mouse to stop in its tracks,
我们当前还没有达到这种程度
which we haven’t done yet.
但好消息是
But the good news is,
此类实验目前处于起步阶段
those experiments are currently underway,
因此我们会实时更新
so we will keep you updated.
不过 科学家能够
If scientists are able to
使神经元真正地发生反应吗?
make neurons fire realistically though,
尽管这些体验不是真实的
and if those experiences feel real,
它们会让人感觉像真的吗?
even though they’re not…
当然就理论而言
Well in theory,
此技术最终会通过编辑
this technology could eventually be used to alter,
神经元与那些行为事件触发的关联方式
like memories by editing the way
来改变诸如记忆之类的事物
neurons associated with those events fire.
我们可以使老鼠认知到
We could make mice perceive things
并非真实存在的事物
that aren’t really there,
应用几束闪光即可
all with the flash of a few lights.
我们可以像《黑客帝国》那样
We could download Kung-Fu
将功夫下载到大脑中
into their brain like in The Matrix!
最终 练功夫的老鼠横空出世!
Finally, rats doing Kung Fu!
此类想法或许有些超前
That might be getting a little ahead of ourselves,
但是 说实话 这可能并没有你所想的那么遥远
but honestly, maybe not far as you’d think.
负责“3D-SHOT”的
The research team responsible
研究团队已经研究出几个办法
for 3D-SHOT already have
来对大脑活动进行
a few ideas about how they’re going to sort of
类似“复制和粘贴”的操作
“copy and paste” brain activity to achieve something like this.
如果科学家能测量出
If they can measure
与他们想要编程的行为有关的
of activations and specific neurons
特定神经元的活动
involved in the behavior they want to program,
“3D-SHOT”就真的
3D-SHOT could feasibly send
可以将那种神经模式传送至另一个不同的脑中
that pattern into a different brain.
主要是……进行程序编程
Basically… programming it.
大脑程序编程
Brain programming.
如今即便我们
Now even if we’re making
在老鼠身上的研究取得了卓越进步
great progress with mice,
但针对人类展开的应用试验看起来仍然任重而道远
applications in humans are likely a very long way off.
光遗传学采用的方法需要
Optogenetic methods require specific,
将特定的 对光敏感的蛋白质置入基因组
light-sensitive proteins to be placed into the genome,
这会很冒险
which could get risky.
但如果我们可以稳操胜券
But if we could do it safely,
那么…… 这种技术会十分实用
that would be… like hugely useful,
不仅能用于研究
not only for research,
(它定会应用于研究的)
it would be for research,
而且可为未来的治疗选择提供保障
but also for future treatment options.
想一想
Think about it:
如果我们可以设计出假眼
if we could design a prosthetic eye
它可从世界上搜集可视图景
that picked up visuals from the world
并将其转化为
and transformed them into
神经活动的准确模式
the right patterns of neural firing,
那样就可能会恢复某人的视觉
you might be able to restore someone’s vision.
这只是数千个例子中的一例
That’s just one out of thousands of examples,
但在达到那个目标之前
but we have a lot of work to do
我们仍有许多工作要做
before we can get there.
所以 很遗憾的是 如果你想下载
So I’m sorry if you wanted to download,
诸如精湛的舞艺这些程序
like very good dancing skills.
其实我也想这样做
I also want that to happen to me,
仍然需要些时日
but it’s going to be a while.
也许那时 在此项研究取得较深入的成果之前
Until then, maybe we should take some classes
我可能还要学习此类课程才行
until the research is a little further along.
感谢您观看本期“科学秀心理学”
Thank you for watching this episode of SciShow Psych!
如果你想了解更多关于
If you’d like to learn more about
光遗传学的工作机制
how optogenetics works
以及我们是如何将其破解的
and how we figured it all out,
可以通过观看所有相关视频来了解详情
you can watch our episode all about it
精彩尽在youtube.com/scishow!
over at youtube.com/scishow.
一如既往
And as always,
别忘了登录我们的网站并进行订阅
don’t forget to go to youtube.com/scishowpsych and subscribe.

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