Thursday, January 11, 2018

The Memory Virus

Okay, so this one is real freaky to think about.

There's a protein in our brains called Arc. It has something to do with how we store memory. By we I mean all "higher animals" on earth. Humans, horses, birds, some reptiles - but not fish.

But Arc is very, shall we say, strange. In fact, it looks like...HIV.

Not only that, it acts like HIV. It infects brain cells as a way of transmitting information. It's entirely probable that Arc is a virus that we incorporated into our selves millions of years ago...and that a viral infection is responsible for the way mammalian brains work and ultimately for, well us.

In other words intelligence, memory and consciousness could be, quite literally, a disease. One that some primitive vertebrates caught and which developed into a symbiosis and ultimately became part of them.

What does this mean? In practical terms, Arc's virus-like behavior might lead to new treatments for Alzheimer's.

In philosophical terms? Science is, once more, stranger than fiction.

(And, story idea I have time for one).