Francis Collins

April 4, 2013 - Francis Collins 04/04/2013 Views: 6,689

BRAIN Initiative project director Francis Collins discusses the most complicated biological structure in the universe. (7:54)

[CHEERS AND APPLAUSE]

>> Stephen: WE WILL WELCOME

BACK, EVERYBODY.

-- WELCOME BACK, EVERYBODY.

MY GUEST TONIGHT WANTS TO MAP

THE HUMAN BRAIN.

OR AS IT'S ALSO KNOWN: A MENU

FOR ZOMBIES.

PLEASE WELCOME DR. FRANCIS

COLLINS.

[CHEERS AND APPLAUSE]

NICE TO SEE YOU AGAIN DR.

COLLINS.

>> GREAT TO BE HERE IS.

>> Stephen: FOURTH TRIP BACK

TO THE SHOW.

I LOVE FINDING OUT WHAWR DOING

AT THE N.I.H.

>> A LOT OF STUFF, MAN.

>> Stephen: YOU ARE THE

DIRECTOR OF NATIONAL INSTITUTES

OF HEALTH.

YOU LED THE GOVERNMENT EFFORT TO

MAP THE HUMAN GENOME.

>> RIGHT.

>> Stephen: TUESDAY PRESIDENT

OBAMA ANNOUNCED THE BRAIN

INITIATIVE.

>> YEAH.

>> Stephen: WHY WOULD YOU WANT

TO MAP THE HUMAN BRAIN?

AM I RIGHT?

IS THIS ABOUT MIND CONTROL?

>> HOW DID I KNOW YOU WERE GOING

TO GO THERE?

ACTUALLY IT'S ABOUT THIS AMAZING

STUR, THE HUMAN BRAIN.

>> Stephen: I THOUGHT IT WAS A

NERF FOOTBALL FOR A SECOND.

>> IT'S NOT A REAL BRAIN JUST TO

BE CLEAR.

IT IS IN THESE THREE POUNDS OF

MATERIAL THE MOST COMPLICATED

BIOLOGICAL STRUCTURE IN THE

UNIVERSE.

>> Stephen: ARE THEY ALL

RAINBOW FLAGS?

>> NO, THIS IS JUST A TEACHING

MODEL.

>> Stephen: JUST DIDN'T KNOW

IF IT WAS A GI MARRIAGE THING.

GOOD HEAD.

THIS IS IN MANY WAYS THE ESSENCE

OF WHAT IT MEANS TO BE HUMAN.

WE'RE VERY MUCH DETERMINED --

>> Stephen: ABSOLUTELY NOT.

WE'RE NOT DETERMINED.

NOT ME, MY GUT.

YOU KNOW THE GUT HAS MORE NERVE

ENDINGS IN IT THAN THE BRAIN

DOES.

DID YOU KNOW THAT?

>> IT HAS A LOT BUT THERE ARE 76

BILLION NEURONS IN THIS

PARTICULAR BRAIN AND EACH ONE OF

THOSE MAKES ABOUT 1,000 OR MORE

CONNECTIONS.

IT'S AN AMAZINGLY COMPLEX

STRUCTURE.

>> Stephen: YOU ARE SAYING

THERE'S MORE NERVE ENDINGS IN

THE BRAIN THAN THE GUT?

>> I BELIEVE THERE ARE.

>> Stephen: WHO TOLD YOU THAT

YOUR BRAIN.

>> WELL, HOW ARE WE GOING TO MAP

THE BRAIN?

IS GOINGEL GOING TO DO THIS?

ARE THEY GOING TO DRIVE A TINY

CAR UP MY NOSE?

IS IT GOING TO HURT?

>> WE GO FROM A STATIC MAP OF

THE BRAIN, A WIRING DIEA GRAM,

NOT A VERY GOOD ONE AND FIGURE

OUT HOW THE WIRES WORK.

THINK ABOUT IF YOU WERE TRYING

TO FIGURE OUT HOW AN iPHONE

WORKED.

COULD YOU NOT TURN IT ON.

YOU COULD POP IT UP BUT YOU

WOULD NEVER UNDERSTAND HOW IT

REMEMBERS THINGS, DOES

CALCULATIONS STEERCHG ARE YOU

GOING TO POP OPEN MY HEAD WHILE

I'M THINKING WITH A CAN OPENER

AND TRACING PAPER?

WHAT DO YOU MEAN?

>> WE HAVE OTHER TECHNOLOGIES

THAT DON'T REQUIRE POPPING YOUR

HEAD OWN BUT WE COULD HAVE A

LOOK INSIDE YOUR HEAD.

WHY DON'T WE SEE WHAT THIS WOULD

LOOK LIKE.

>> Stephen: I PUT THIS ON.

>> YEAH, THE TAG GOES IN THE

BACK.

>> Stephen: TELL MY WIFE, I

LOVE HER.

TAG GOES IN THE BACK.

I KNOW HOW BRAIN WAVE HATS BEGUN

ON, SIR.

[CHEERS AND APPLAUSE]

>> ALL RIGHT.

>> Stephen: PEOPLE OF EARTH, I

COME IN PEACE.

[ LAUGHTER ]

>> I'M GLAD TO SAY THAT DESPITE

WHAT SOME PEOPLE MAY HAVE ARGUED

YOU DO HAVE BRAIN ACTIVITY, SIR.

>> PUT THIS BADBOY UP THERE,

WHAT IS GOING ON.

>> Stephen: ALL RIGHT.

OKAY.

WHAT IS HAPPENING TO ME?

[LAUGHTER]

CAN I CONTROL.

CAN I BEND SPOONS WITH MY MIND

NOW?

WHAT IS ALL THIS UP HERE?

>> THOSE ARE ELECTRICAL IMPULSES

CREATED BY THE 86 BILLION

NEURONS IN YOUR HEAD BASICALLY

MAKING THE POINT THAT THE BRAIN

IS SOMETHING THAT OPERATES ON

THE LAWS OF PHYSICS.

IT HAS CURRENTS, CHEMISTRY.

>> Stephen: IT LOOKS LIKE A

RICHTER SCALE.

IT'S AN EARTHQUAKE IN MY MIND.

>> MAYBE ON SOME OCCASIONS WE DO

HAVE EARTHQUAKES BUT THOSE WOULD

BE CALLED SEIZURES.

>> Stephen: THAT'S BAD STUFF.

AGAIN, I WANT TO POINT OUT THAT

THE RIBBON IS RAINBOW COLORED.

>> I WANT TO POINT OUT THIS

TECHNOLOGY NEED HELPS -- THE

SEQUESTER HAS GOT IN OUR WAY.

>> Stephen: YES IT'S DUCT

TAPED TOGETHER.

IT'S VERY NICE.

CAN I TAKE THIS OFF OR WILL I

PASS OUT?

>> IT WOULD BE OKAY.

>> Stephen: AH.

THAT'S NIESMS AND LOOK AT

THIS --

[CHEERS AND APPLAUSE]

-- THAT'S NICE.

AND LOOK AT THIS DIDN'T MESS UP

A HAIR.

WHERE WOULD I STAB A PENCIL TO

GET "CALL ME MAYBE" OUT OF MY

HEAD?

[LAUGHTER]

>> YOU KNOW, THAT'S WHY WE NEED

THIS BRAIN INITIATIVE.

THEN I COULD ANSWER YOUR

QUESTION.

RIGHT NEW IT'S IN THERE

SOMEWHERE BUT WE DON'T HAVE THE

WIRING AND FUNCTIONALITIES

FIGURED OUT.

>> Stephen: CAN YOU MAYBE IT.

THERE'S THE STRUCTURE OF BRAIN.

THEN THERE'S THE INFLUENCE ON

THE BRAIFNL YOU ARE GIVEN PRY

YRTS IN THINKING.

YOU HAVE GIVEN THE DECISION TREE

OF YOUR LIFE AND THE IF THENS

ARE DIFFERENT FOR EVERY SINGLE

PERSON.

HOW CAN YOU MAP THAT ON ONE

PERSON AND HAVE IT MEAN

SOMETHING FOR ANYONE ELSE?

TNCHES A BRILLIANT QUESTION.

>> Stephen: I'M A BRILLIANT

MAN.

[CHEERS AND APPLAUSE]

>> SO ARE WE ALL.

THE FACT THAT WE COULD, IN FACT,

BEGIN TO UNDERSTAND THE

DIFFERENCES IS WAY DOWN THE ROAD

SOMETHING WE MIGHT LEARN.

RIGHT NEW WE NEED KIND OF A

REFERENCE OF A NORMAL HUMAN

BRAIN IF THERE'S ONE WE COULD

CALL NORMAL.

>> Stephen: ARE YOU LOOKING

FOR VOLUNTEERS.

>> YOU ARE EXCEPTIONAL.

>> Stephen: I'M JUST AN

AVERAGE JOE WHO CHANGES THE

WORLD WITH THOUGHT.

[ LAUGHTER ]

>> AND WE WANT TO UNDERSTAND HOW

THE IMPULSES WORK AT SPEED OF

THOUGHT.

IMAGINE THAT.

>> Stephen: WHAT IS THE SPEED

OF THOUGHT?

>> IT'S WHAT HAPPENED

ELECTRICALLY BETWEEN THE 86

BILLION NEURONS WHEN INFORMATION

IS PASSED AROUND STEERCHGHTS

IT'S LIKE 50 MILES PER HOUR.

>> IT'S A LOT FASTER.

MICROSECONDS IS THE TRANSFER

BETWEEN NEURON TO NEURON.

THE WAY IN WHICH WE PERCEIVE

TIME.

>> Stephen: IF I COULD SPEED

UP MY BRAIN WOULD TIME SLOW

DOWN?

>> NO -- YEAH, I GUESS IT WOULD

ACTUALLY.

>> Stephen: I JUST BLEW YOUR

MIND.

I JUST BLEW YOUR MIND, BUDDY.

>> I HAD TO THINK ABOUT THAT

ONE.

>> Stephen: THAT IS BRUCE LEE

STUFF.

>> YOU KNOW WHY WE'RE REALLY

DOING THIS?

BECAUSE THERE'S 100 MILLION

PEOPLE IN THIS COUNTRY WHO

SUFFER FROM BRAIN DISEASE.

BY BUILDING THE FOUNDATION OF

UNDERSTANDING HOW THE BRAIN

WORKS HAVE A MUCH BETTER CHANCE

OF KNOWING WHAT TO DO FOR THEM.

FOR AUTISM, SCHIZOPHRENIA,

PARKINSON'S EPILEPSY.

FOR ALL OF THOSE CONDITIONS

THAT'S WHY WE'RE DOING IT.

>> Stephen: WHAT ABOUT THE

PLEASURE CENTER OF THE BRAIN?

COULD YOU DROP A LITTLE

ELECTRICAL IMPULSE THERE AND

GIVE ME THE FEELING ALL THE TIME

THAT IT'S LIKE I'M A FRESHMAN IN

HIGH SCHOOL AND IT'S WINTERTIME

AND I'M ABOUT TO GET UP AND MY

MOM COMES IN AND IT'S A SNOW DAY

AND I GET TO SNUGGLE BACK

UNDERNEATH THE COVERS AND SHE

BRINGS ME TOMATO SOUP AND

GRILLED CHEESE SANDWICHES.

IF YOU COULD FIND THAT, HOOK A

220 LINE TO IT.

CRANK IT UP AND RIP OFF THE

NOBODY.

I WANT TO GO HOME.

>> I GET THAT.

THAT'S THAT'S THE --

>> Steve: WHAT IS ON THAT

FIRST?

>> WOODY ALLEN SAID THIS WAS HIS

SECOND FAVORITE ORGAN.

WE HAVE TO KEEP THAT PART IN

MIND, TOO.

>> Stephen: WELL, YOU CAN

ALREADY HOOK UP CABLES TO THE

OTHER ONE.

[LAUGHTER]

THANK YOU SO MUCH.

DR. FRANCIS COLLINS.

[CHEERS AND APPLAUSE]

DIRECTOR OF THE NATIONAL

INSTITUTES OF HEALTH.

WE'LL BE RIGHT BACK.

WON'T WE?

[CHEERS AND APPLAUSE]