X-Message-Number: 11314
From: Thomas Donaldson <>
Subject: About transplants and brain neuron creation
Date: Thu, 25 Feb 1999 00:10:13 +1100 (EST)

Hi everyone!

Some very brief points:

On transplantation, supposing that everyone was legislated as a donor:
there is a major problem. Donors are generally young and (prior to their
death by accident) in good health. Most people who die do so when they
are old and in poor health. Their organs would need LOTS of work to make
them suitable for donation --- work which so far has not been done. I
will speak for myself here: because I have survived a brain cancer, I
am now ineligible even to donate blood... much less any other organs.

Those who think that requiring everyone to become donors would forthwith
solve our need for human organs are simply mistaken. That mistake, of 
course, sits on top of a great neglect of human rights in preference to
the rights of animals. While I would come down on the side of human rights
here, and in particular the right NOT to be forced to donate any organ
or system, I think that even the factual assumptions of the Anti-Vivisect-
ionists are simply wrong.

As for creation of new neurons, it's correct that the animals listed do
generate new neurons, and very likely that we do also. However even a
little thought should tell us that generation of new neurons in our
hippocampus will probably not help long term memory storage very much.
The hippocampus serves as a kind of gate: it acts both in the early 
stages of memory storage, and in some kinds of recall. But the actual
memories, though they go through that gate, come from elsewhere.
Greenough's work on memory has a long history: enriched environments have
been known to increase neural connections for at least 25 years. 
Although NATURE NEUROSCIENCE is expensive enough that many libraries 
simply do not subscribe, even academic libraries, I will try to get 
the originals of the articles Jan Coetzee lists and comment upon them.

			Best and long long life for all,

				Thomas Donaldson

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