Can Tang Yan control the brain?

Mind control is a simple but gimmicky concept. If you add a bit of the principle of freedom of will, you can put it into any movie of any theme and it will suddenly improve the force. Apparently, the latest “Ace Agent: Academy of Agents” has not been exempt. The villain Nick in the show? Director Fury, oh no, boss Valentine has developed a super mobile phone card that can annoy mobile telecommunications. After it is installed, the phone is free, the Internet is free, and it is also distributed for free. All the money is not needed. … But as the police uncle often tells us, there is nothing to be diligent about or to steal or to steal. The purpose of giving Boss free, of course, is to destroy the world. It turns out that the hidden card in this phone card can send out some mysterious signals that can affect the brain, causing users to become violent, and then all humans will fight to the world, and of course, they will finish playing. 

Of course, as a comedy, the plot of Ace Agent does not need to convey any rigorous scientific information. However, there are so many plots that still make people curious-if there are evil forces that follow the high-tech line in reality, could they make the “control brain” plot a reality? 

Make people violent, can it be done? 

Frankly, in many films involving mind control, “Ace Agent” is relatively convergent. It just makes people tend to be violent. It does not require how accurate brain control is. This is because of evil forces. The scientific research migrant workers working below have saved a lot of energy. 

Theoretically, as long as researchers find a brain area related to violence and then intervene in it, it can increase people’s tendency to violence. But this errand is actually not easy. There are quite a lot of brain areas related to violent tendencies in human brains, and most of them are only very vaguely related to violent behaviors. What role do they play? However, since the world is about to be destroyed, some sections need not be too restrictive. It is okay to be unclear about the principle. Just ensure that you can make people more violent by working on this brain area. Needless to say, there are really two brain regions that have this effect, one in the prefrontal cortex and the other in the hypothalamus. 

Inhibiting the prefrontal cortex or activating the hypothalamus may cause people to become violent. Note that the words I use are possible because the functions of these two brain regions are too complicated. 

The prefrontal cortex is the center of human advanced thinking activities, and more importantly, it is the “safety center” in our brain. American psychologist Paul · Whalen (Paul Whalen professor) believes that we have a responsibility for the most primitive impulses – such as fear, violent attack, self-defense, escape and other acts of brain systems, and conduct real environment on top of the system The assessment and rational judgment is the prefrontal lobe. Only after the frontal lobe sends a “safe” signal will the instinctual response be suppressed. Self-control is the ability to build on the normal work of the frontal lobe. The so-called “the heroes of ancient times must have extraordinary festivals. There is something that can’t be tolerated, the husband is insulted, the sword rises, and stands up. It’s not brave enough. “From this, it can be seen that if the function of this brain region is suppressed, people may become more impulsive and thus show more violent tendencies. However, the problem is that the inhibition of the prefrontal lobe has many consequences. In addition to the loss of emotional control, advanced thinking and executive abilities are also impaired. In this case, it is difficult to predict exactly what people will do, and it is difficult to say whether the plan can be carried out smoothly. 

As for the hypothalamus, it is the “instinct center” of animals. Hypothalamus, pituitary and adrenal glands of these three organs of our body constitute the most important axis of a pressure regulator, responsible for the external environment stress by releasing stress hormones regulate different biological most basic “fight or flight” (Fight-or-Flight) response. Animal experiments have shown that if the connection between the cerebral cortex and the hypothalamus is removed, animals will have a ” sham rage ” phenomenon, which not only overexcites the sympathetic nervous system but also opens their teeth and dances as if fighting. Electrical stimulation of the lateral area of ​​the hypothalamus can trigger aggressive behavior, while electrical stimulation of the dorsal area of ​​the hypothalamus can lead to escape behavior. If the large Boss ‘s free SIM card can accurately locate the tiny hypothalamus buried deep in the cortex, it seems promising to stimulate a mass attack, but if it is accidentally misplaced and projected to the dorsal side, it will instead There will be a group of escape experts, the picture is too beautiful, I dare not imagine. 

But then again, there are simpler ways to create chaos in the crowd, such as making people hallucinate. In reality, many psychotropic drugs, such as cocaine, methamphetamine (methamphetamine), and lysergic acid diacetamide (LSD), cause mental problems such as hallucinations, delusions of persecution, and impulsivity, and addicts often show more. violence. Pathogens such as rabies virus and Treponema pallidum can also induce a host of mental symptoms. It is said that Russia’s half-renowned Tsar Ivan IV (known as Ivan the Emperor, the horror Ivan) was under the influence of neurosyphilis, not only executed many queens but even killed his crown prince because of some trivial matters. In theory, electrical stimulation can also cause people to have similar hallucinations and behaviors, but compared to biochemical attacks, this is not so cost-effective for evil forces. 

  Russia, Repin’s “Ivan the Emperor Kills” oil painting part? 

Sound waves, electromagnetic waves: the remote control is not easy 

Well, maybe Evil Boss is rich and willful, and he must design his plan to be more scientific and technological-spreading hallucinogens are too boring, I just want to send signals to control other people’s brains! 

So, let’s temporarily assume that he can really break through the bottleneck mentioned above, and then let’s see if we can complete the task with signals such as sound waves or electromagnetic waves. 

Speaking of electromagnetic waves, the electromagnetic waves in daily life naturally cannot control the brain directly, but in reality, there is a neuromodulation technique called “transcranial magnetic stimulation” that is a bit involved. This technology uses the principle of electromagnetic induction, which can release a short electromagnetic pulse near the head to a specific brain area, thereby suppressing the function of the corresponding brain area for a short time. At present, this technology has been used clinically for some severe and difficult to treat depression and migraine, and it is also used in disease diagnosis and brain science research. 

However, this technique is far from the ideal of the evil big boss. It lacks the ability of precise control, and there are still some disputes about its specific effects. The most important thing is that although transcranial magnetic stimulation does not need to open the brain to implant electrodes, it is not a “secret remote control” at all in order for the electromagnetic pulse to pass through the skull to reach a specific brain region, the electromagnetic coil must be held close to the head It is only possible to place the ministry. Such a brazen method that requires the cooperation of the other party is really not suitable for the villain hiding in the dark. In order to successfully control all human beings, at least, everyone must wear a “control helmet” that cannot be removed-this is more complicated than issuing a mobile phone card. 

So what about sound waves? Although some sound waves may indeed have some effect on the tendency to violence, such as crazy noise. However, is it possible to rely on sound waves that some human ears cannot hear but can directly act on the brain nerves? Someone really did this, and it turned out that ultrasound at certain frequencies does have the potential to affect neurons in the brain. For example, stimulating the motor cortex of anesthetized mice with ultrasound pulses can cause them to generate corresponding neuroelectric activities and limb movements (but unfortunately, the accuracy of the control is not enough to turn the mice into remote-controlled “robots”). However, research in this area is still relatively preliminary. It is unknown how the ultrasound affects the brain and whether it can cause changes in behavior. Compared with relatively mature technology, choosing this route will take more time and research funding. And like transcranial magnetic stimulation, this is still a means that must be performed at close range. From this point of view, conspirators who want to control the human brain are doomed. 

So what about implanted devices? 

Since remote control is not easy, how about implanting chips and electrodes directly into the human body? Well, let’s not worry about the workload and cost-effectiveness of the tank, let’s take a look at what the real technology can do. 

There are also implanted electronic devices in “Ace Agent”, but in the movie, this thing plays a protective role against “brain control”. So, can it, in turn, be used to control the brain? Wouldn’t it be great if these subcutaneously implanted electronic devices could receive command signals from the villainous Boss while extending electrodes to stimulate the brain? Not to mention, there are really similar technologies now. 

Shown in the video above is a technique called “deep brain stimulation” (DBS), which is now approved for the treatment of diseases such as Parkinson’s. Its principle is to implant some electrodes directly into the brain and let these electrodes stimulate neurons in the relevant brain area, thereby alleviating the symptoms of Parkinson’s patients. 

Can this technology be directly transplanted to simulate the electrical signals of “violent neurons” and even control people’s thoughts and behaviors? May be quite hanging. Because people will only implant DBS electrodes in specific brain regions after the occurrence of diseases such as Parkinson’s. Although some of these brain regions will have psychic side effects, most of them will mainly relieve tremors, slowness and other symptoms It is far from controlling thoughts and behaviors. For example, it is also a neurodegenerative disease, and deep brain stimulation cannot help Alzheimer’s disease. 

Optogenetics: The Ultimate Precision Control Dafa 

Despite so many difficulties, maybe Big Boss is still reluctant to give up. He is desperate to develop a black technology that can accurately identify neurons and control the activity of neurons at the nanoscale. Then, I had to expand my thinking (brain) path (hole). 

If it is necessary to activate a certain neuron very accurately without affecting other neurons, then there is only one method available, which is to use the power of optogenetics. Optogenetics expresses some light-sensitive proteins on the surface of neurons so that they are activated when the neurons are illuminated. If this light-sensitive protein is coupled with a specific biomarker, the light-sensitive protein can be expressed on a specific neuron, thereby achieving precise manipulation. 


If you see this kind of mouse that seems to be lit by the skylight, it is basically that you have not run the optogenetic experiment.  

This idea sounds very tempting. It should not be difficult to make the implanted device emit a light signal, but there is a big bug in using optogenetic technology, which is that it generally needs to cooperate with specific genetically modified animals or express the virus. In other words, either the organism is ready for fertilization or embryos, or a large amount of virus infects brain tissue. Even if it is really possible to bury a chip for everyone, the “genetic transformation of the whole people” is too unrealistic. Can this be overcome? I can only say that there is another point that is barely considered a breakthrough point, and that is the virus tracking technology. 

What is this black technology? We know that there are some viruses, such as the aforementioned rabies virus and herpes virus, which are less common, and the good blood vessels do not go, they have to go inside the nerve fibers. This property was used by scientists, who made various genetic modifications to these viruses so that they could swim among neurons as the scientists wanted. At the same time, these viruses can also leave some information in the neurons that pass by, such as dyeing the neurons and emitting fluorescence. If these viruses are used, it may be possible to leave those light-sensitive proteins in the neurons they pass through, which will facilitate subsequent optogenetic operations. However, this technology has many limitations, and it is very difficult to achieve true precise control. 

In short, if the evil group’s research team can complete the human brain atlas plan on its own, and increase the resolution to a single synaptic level, then it can design a very sophisticated virus that can accurately reach the target neuron and press The plan works, and at the same time, everyone can be implanted electronically, and then broadcast the command signal to activate the device on a large scale … Well, uh, maybe the ultimate plan to control the brain to conquer the world can be achieved Right.