Scientists find a better injectable nanomaterial than Graphene for activation of neural tissue with light. Bioethical considerations abound.
“In recent years, researchers have shown that it is possible to use pulses of light to alter the cell membrane’s properties and elicit an electrical signal that can control cellular communication.”
Now they claim that their intent is to “identify materials effective at controlling cell activities without causing distress.” However from a bioethical standpoint, we should be incredibly careful going forward.
A runway nano-material weapon capable of manipulating our biology from within is no joking matter. A microscopic system of such a nature could easily spread undetectably throughout a medium.
It could end up something along the lines of technocratic full spectrum dominance. Especially if you can fine tune the aim of laser beams from an orbital satellite or use pulsed electromagnetic fields to activate the nano-material.
Originally they wanted to use multidimensional “fuzzy” Graphene but found out that the material was too difficult to produce and could not generate enough light.
So instead they focused on transition metal carbides/nitrides (MXenes) flakes, a unique two-dimensional (2D) nanomaterial who’s features include the following
– outstanding mechanical properties,
– high electrical conductivity,
– excellent electrochemical properties
And most importantly from their perspective:
– Easy and inexpensive to produce
A 2D material is one that exhibits strange features based on how you align the two atomic layers in relationship to one another. In other words, stack two atomic wide layers on top of one another and the material can behave like a whole new element.
“The team dispersed flakes on the surface of dorsal root ganglion (DRG), cells in the peripheral nervous system, and illuminated them with short pulses of light.
By studying the interface between cells and materials, it became clear that flakes would not be absorbed by the cells and Cohen-Karni could accurately measure the amount of light required to create cellular change.”
Furthermore, biofeedback technology is a two way street. It involves having assistance when we need it (in the form is stimulation) and then using that to “jump” in to a state of auto regulation where we can control our psycho physiology properly, the way it’s meant to be – with conscious intent.
This would be done to ensure that if it is nonetheless imminent, nanomaterial biofeedback technology would remain exactly what we intended it to be – an AID TO rather then a replacement for human potential.
It would help to acknowledge bioethical considerations like this in the earlier stages of development before the technology is actually operationalized.
In my opinion we should stick with the externally operated pulsed electromagnetic field therapy until medical instructions have proven themselves conscientiousness enough to use nanomaterial photobiomodulation in the way that it is intended.
Picture: CMU College of Engineering