Brain back-up firm Nectome loses link to MIT

From BBC - April 4, 2018

A company attempting to map people's brains so their memories can be stored in computers has lost its link to one of the United States' top universities.

US start-up Nectome revealed its brain back-up plan last month, warning at the time that the process involved would be "100% fatal".

A number of neuroscientists subsequently poured scorn on the plan.

The Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) has now announced that it is severing ties with the project.

One of the university's professors had previously benefitted from a federal grant given to Nectome and was attempting to combine its work with his own research into mouse brains.

"Neuroscience has not sufficiently advanced to the point where we know whether any brain preservation method is powerful enough to preserve all the different kinds of biomolecules related to memory and the mind," said the MIT in a blog explaining its decision.

Nectome has responded saying: "We appreciate the help MIT has given us, understand their choice, and wish them the best."

'Potential to benefit humanity'

The university's in-house publication MIT Technology Review had been first to draw attention to Nectome's plans and the educational establishment's own involvement.

It has since reported that the collaboration had attracted "sharp criticism" from experts in the field, who feared it lent credibility to an effort that was doomed to fail.

"Fundamentally, the company is based on a proposition that is just false," said Sten Linnarsson of the Karolinska Institute in Sweden.


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