Thursday, August 28, 2014

Inching toward immortality

Kaiser Health News reports on medical research -- funded, albeit minisculey, by the ACA -- that taps into longstanding dreams:
Imagine if scientists could recreate you---or at least part of you---on a chip.

That might help doctors identify drugs that would help you heal faster, bypassing the sometimes painful trial-and-error process and hefty health care costs that accompany arriving at the right treatment.

Right now, at the University of California, Berkeley, researchers in bioengineer Kevin Healy's lab are working to make that happen. Funded under a provision of the health law, they're trying to grow human organ tissue, like heart and liver, on tiny chips.
Science fiction writers  have long envisioned variations on this theme-- e.g.. organ banks, rejuvenation via replacement of body parts. transfer of a individual consciousness into a spare body.  Back in the disk drive era, I put a less physical imagining into a children's poem:

A Good Dream

I dreamed I saved my sister on disk--
brother, was I relieved.
If any harm should come to her
she could be retrieved.

The disk drive whirred
and imprinted her mind:
the way she looks at me
and points at things, and says a word
or sometimes two or three.

I held her close, and she was there,
but somewhere else as well:
stored on some great motherboard --
look and touch and smell.

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