Dr. Matthew MacDougall: Neuralink & Technologies to Enhance Human Brains | Huberman Lab Podcast | Summary and Q&A

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April 17, 2023
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Andrew Huberman
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Dr. Matthew MacDougall: Neuralink & Technologies to Enhance Human Brains | Huberman Lab Podcast

TL;DR

Dr. Matthew McDougall, head neurosurgeon at Neuralink, discusses brain function, neurosurgery, and the goals of brain augmentation.

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Key Insights

  • 💦 The brain is a complex organ that consists of functional modules working together to control cognition, behavior, and movement.
  • 🧠 Neuralink aims to develop technologies to improve brain function, treat neurological diseases, and restore motor control in quadriplegic patients.
  • 👻 Robotic insertion devices are used to place tiny electrodes in the brain, allowing for precise electrical stimulation and recording of neural activity.
  • 🤕 Plasticity in the adult brain decreases with age but can be enhanced through pharmacological agents.

Transcript

welcome to the huberman Lab podcast where we discuss science and science-based tools for everyday life I'm Andrew huberman and I'm a professor of neurobiology and Ophthalmology at Stanford school of medicine today my guest is Dr Matthew McDougall Dr Matthew McDougall is the head neurosurgeon at neurolink neurolink is a company whose goal is to deve... Read More

Questions & Answers

Q: What is the main goal of Neuralink?

The main goal of Neuralink is to reduce human suffering by developing technologies to improve brain function and treat neurological disorders, starting with restoring motor control in quadriplegic patients.

Q: How do neurosurgeons study brain function?

Neurosurgeons study brain function by conducting surgeries and monitoring changes in cognition, behavior, and speech as they manipulate the brain. This provides unique insights into how different areas of the brain contribute to these functions.

Q: What is the role of plasticity in the adult brain?

Plasticity refers to the brain's ability to change and adapt. While plasticity decreases with age, it is still possible to enhance plasticity through pharmacological agents. Neuralink is focused on electrical stimulation rather than pharmacology for brain augmentation.

Q: Are there risks associated with using Bluetooth headphones or other wireless devices near the brain?

According to Dr. McDougall, the energy levels emitted by Bluetooth headphones and similar devices are very low and unlikely to cause harm. The body's natural cooling system, such as blood flow, helps regulate temperature and dissipate any excess heat.

Summary & Key Takeaways

  • Dr. McDougall explains how the brain functions as a collection of functional modules that work together to control cognition, behavior, and movement.

  • He discusses the goals of Neuralink, which include developing technologies to improve brain function, treat neurological diseases, and overcome paralysis caused by spinal cord injury.

  • Dr. McDougall describes the use of robotic insertion devices to place tiny electrodes in the brain to restore motor control in quadriplegic patients.

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