November 12, 2016 | David F. Coppedge

Unlocking Mental Control of the Body

Neuroscientists are finding ways to give people control they have lost because of bodily limitations.

New Scientist tells a heart-warming story of a woman who had been “locked in” to her disability from ALS and is now able to communicate with her eyes with an experimental brain implant.

A paralysed woman has learned to use a brain implant to communicate by thought alone. It is the first time a brain–computer interface has been used at home in a person’s day-to-day life, without the need for doctors and engineers to recalibrate the device.

It’s a slow process, another article states, but with practice she has achieved 95% accuracy. She hopes her experience will help many others unable to communicate because of neurodegenerative diseases.

Brain implants may also help some paralytics to walk again. The Telegraph UK reports on progress with macaque monkeys that may translate to help humans. “With the system turned on, the animals in our study had nearly normal locomotion” on a treadmill test.

Pain is not just a bodily response. It is also a mental phenomenon. Medical Xpress reports that “Scientists at The University of Manchester have shown for the first time that if the brain is ‘tuned-in’ to a particular frequency, pain can be alleviated.”

We think we control our brains, but sometimes our brains take us where we don’t want to go. Why do some songs get stuck in your head? Medical Xpress offers some thoughts on that, and what you can do to get rid of those pesky “earworms” when they invade.

Many have posted on Facebook the recent video clip of a baby hearing his mother for the first time after being fitted with a hearing aid. The clip is available on the Daily Mail. His spontaneous smile is sure to be contagious. Similar joyful clips can be found on YouTube, indicating that hearing is more than just a matter of physics.

Readers wishing to pursue deep thoughts about the mind-body problem can check out Robert Lawrence Kuhn’s interviews with philosophers and theologians on Live Science, “Does your ‘self’ have a soul?”  Kuhn is talented at asking probing questions.

Is morality just a material thing? Here’s what secularists have to say about “moral judgment” vs “moral action” on PLoS One. Let’s hope they aren’t lying to their readers.

Our most fundamental connection to reality is in our own thought life. Can thoughts be just a material response of chemicals in a meaningless universe? Walk behind David Wood of Acts 17 Apologetics as he tells his testimony as a former atheist. He descends into a self-destructive morass of violent yet contradictory thoughts, till Christ finds him through the witness of a prison inmate and offers him true freedom. Notice how materialism was at the root of his selfish, prideful, nihilistic, murderous thought life. In Christ now, with a PhD in the philosophy of religion, Wood boldly witnesses to atheists and Muslims. His YouTube page looks very interesting with recent uploads.

Follow up Wood’s testimony with Ray Comfort’s new “Atheist Delusion” movie on YouTube.

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