[ExI] pets, mirrors and cryonics

spike spike66 at att.net
Sun Nov 4 05:50:29 UTC 2012

Note this post is from Taurus, although it is under my name.  I approved it
and it showed up as approval acknowledged over an hour ago but for some
reason it didn't show up in the inbox.  Sometimes the server does this, I
don't know what is up with it, and I am not an internet hipster.  In any
case, Taurus had some really interesting information about neurodegenerative
processes, so I didn't want to risk his message being lost in the ethereal
nothingness of wherever bit-streams go when they don't get to where they
were sent.

Welcome Taurus Londono, great first post man!


Londono wrote:

I want to thank you for sharing these poignant experiences. I'm a lurker,
but your message spurred me to respond.

It is not generally recognized that dogs pass the traditional mirror test. 
Of course, this seems contrary to experience once you've actually raised a
dog. One way I test my Basset Hound when he's facing a mirror;
Nosferatu-style hands slowly creeping up behind him; he eyes the hands in
the mirror and quickly turns around just like a human would. Odorless dye
method is evidently flawed.

My understanding is that the failure of Alzheimer's patients to recognize
themselves in the mirror is unrelated to the latent neurological potential
to do so (shared with some animals) *per se*. AFAIK, this is a result of the
accumulating loss of dendritic spines; ie the memory of the patient's most
recent physical appearance. AFAIK, it is not the case that the
neurodegenerative process is necessarily selective for the most recent
ultrastructural changes; synaptic alterations can initially leave recently
formed memories isolated if not intact. However, LTP is the first to go, and
long-term memories (and the emotional reinforcement you correctly cite)
appear to have greater resistance to the onset of disruptions in expression
of amyloid precursor protein.

The consequence is that the old Cryonics adage applies; last in, first out.

You're right to appreciate how serious this issue is with respect to
information theoretic death. FWIW, the inimitable Mike Darwin has focused a
considerable amount of attention on the topic. The only silver lining is
that it is easier to envision biomedical amelioration than with, say,
cancer. Pharmaceuticals are already approaching some semblance of a capacity
to address this terrible disease.

- Taurus Londono 

More information about the extropy-chat mailing list