Neuroscientists think they've identified the part of the brain that causes Tourette's Syndrome, the condition that causes random tics including compulsive obscenity. How long before we can hack that part of the brain?
Writing in the journal BMC Neuroscience, Kristen Muller-Vahl and her team explained how they used a new technique, Magnetic Transfer Imaging (MTI) to scan the prefrontal areas of the brains of 19 Tourette's sufferers as well as 20 control subjects. They found alterations in the "frontostriatial circuitries" of the Tourette's brains, that may explain the causes of the disorder. In particular, Tourette's sufferers showed "significant decreases in grey matter volumes" in some key prefrontal areas, and decreased white matter in others.
So changes in the architecture of the frontal lobe lead to "disinhibition of the cingulate gyrus and abnormal basal ganglia function." How long before we can craft a drug to restore normal structure to people's prefrontal lobes? Or even cause a temporary abnormality in people, to reduce their self-control? Just imagine dosing people at a party, or using it as a weapon to cause confusion among our enemies. [via EurekAlert]