X-Message-Number: 7768
Date: Wed, 26 Feb 1997 12:29:58 MST
From: "Richard Schroeppel" <>
Subject: extracranial memory -- speculation

A neuro patient (head only) probably loses information that is only kept
in his body.  On reawakening, he may find that his muscles are wired
a bit differently from the original body, and that muscle skills must be
reacquired.  A violinist might retain his acoustic knowledge, but need
to relearn fingering or bowing.  [This idea is conjectural: it's possible
that neural information saved in the brain will be sufficient to infer
muscle wiring and fiber strengths well enough to give an "identical"

I've been musing about other body info that is lost.  Obviously scars,
fractures, and surgery are annulled, generally a good thing.  There
will be information missing about exact sizes and shapes of body parts:
these depend a lot on nutrition and patterns of use.  Overall height
and weight might change, since these also depend on prenatal and
childhood nutrition.  The detailed wiring of the blood vessels will
be different; this may also affect muscle shape.  A prospective neuro
patient might want to keep detailed body size measurements.

One interesting unknown is immunologic memory:  This is partly stored
in circulating white blood cells, and partly in the thymus.  I think
current practice is to discard these when the patient is frozen (?).

Are there other sorts of "memory"?  The sensors for smell and taste
go along with the patient.  Proprioception (joint position & muscle
tension) is part of the muscle system.  Perhaps there's a nutrition
memory -- the body's detailed strategy for handling sugar, fat, etc.
This might reside in the liver, pancreas, intestines, stomach.
There might be "respiration memory", perhaps involving the lungs and
heart (as well as the brain of course); there are measuring organs
for blood gasses (in the neck veins?).  The marrow of long bones
contains blood cell precursors, which might contain interesting state.
Prenatal hormone influences (if real) presumably act through the brain,
(only?).  A woman's pregnancy history will be reset.

Most of this information is not crucial -- it can be relearned, or
ignored -- immune memory might be irrelevant in our future -- even
our typing skills might be of historical value only.  On the other
hand, it's possible that mood (and hence a part of personality)
depends on sugar handling strategy, and that this is influenced by
the details of the blood flow in the pancreas and liver.

Rich Schroeppel   

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