Brain Research of the Past of Little Gain to Scientists

 

The brain is once again in the news. An interesting study has been announced that will begin in 2014 (a $100 million dollar study that has some people up in arms about how the money could, perhaps, be better spent). This study involves broad strokes on how the medical community might better understand the human brain. There are already many debates going on based on just the announcement, however, there is one creature that may truly benefit from this scientific move and it’s most definitely not the human.

In the past, there have been various studies focusing on the brain, with sharks being the subject of the research; studies that proved to be horrific to the ancient creature that has lived in our oceans for a good long time. When it comes to the shark, a creature with a truly complex brain, very little is known about them other than the fact that they have the most complicated and perhaps the most beneficial brains for scientific needs. In other words, the shark’s neurology may just have the cures for various illnesses that humans suffer from.

Photo by:  www.flmnh.ufl.edu

Photo by: www.flmnh.ufl.edu

This subject is spoken about a great deal in this writer’s household because of the fact that my own daughter is very much into the saving of sharks. Her future as a marine biologist was mapped out long ago when she first heard of the number of shark deaths that have occurred at the hands of Man. Many have tried to keep the shark in captivity which simply proved to the world that once they were caged, their brain immediately shuts down and they basically commit fish suicide so that no one can touch them. This is a process that has been shown again and again, yet sharks are continually hunted when they’re not supposed to be.

Various researchers over time have come to tentative conclusions that the shark and the human have basically the same brain functions; although the shark has a protective device – defenses built in, which humans do not have. Yes, we have the ‘sense’ to protect ourselves from danger, but certain issues such as dementia, Alzheimer’s, etc. – the conditions that are out of our hands – come from various attacks on the brain that we simply do not yet understand. To this day not a great deal is known about what happens to a brain that brings on these particular afflictions, but the research routes that have been taken in the past tend to be completely harmful and offer scientists absolutely no gain when it comes to their knowledge on how to stop or cure these illnesses.

Brain studies are not all that have been a part of harming the shark community. In fact, the subject of shark finning still remains, unfortunately, a huge problem. This practice is where the fins are actually removed while the rest of the shark’s body is thrown back into the ocean. The concept alone sounds like something out of a horror movie, especially since this particular offense leaves the shark alive and unable to move normally. They die of suffocation or are eaten by other predators as a result.

There are many who will state that shark finning is a good thing for profitability when it comes to the industry. Others will say that finning helps by making sure that the right number of sharks are harvested so they cause no danger to human beings. These subjects are highly debatable!

Even with laws against it, shark finning increases, with more and more people selling these creatures’ parts for shark fin soup. The International Union for Conservation of Nature’s Shark Specialist Group say that the harming of sharks seems to be getting more and more widespread, being called, ‘unregulated shark fin trade’, and it represents one of the most serious threats to shark populations worldwide.

In trade, you’re talking hundreds of millions of dollars, with shark fins being among the most expensive seafood products. In the United States, where finning is prohibited, a bowl of shark-fin soup sells for up to $150. (Apparently that is the price for a shark’s life). Millions of sharks are harvested annually for their fins, nearly four times the number that’s recorded by the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations.

Conservationists are up in the air, but so are many others. On one side of the debate you have issues about improving healthcare as well as taking care of the threat to surfers, but the shark has been on this earth for billions of years for a reason. Their brain, behavior and evolution is something that can simply not be studied, and shouldn’t be. Again, even with all the studies done in the past, nothing has been found to help erase the illnesses that humans suffer from. All that has been shown is money going into people’s pockets as they kill the creature for absolutely no reason whatsoever.

Perhaps with Obama’s new B.R.A.I.N initiative beginning in 2014, the shark will be left alone and scientists can move on to more humane ways of studying neurology and getting the answers they need. Both humans and sharks will be extremely grateful for this turn of events, which leaves only the shark finning predators to stop!

This is not an eating machine, people; this is a creature that has survived for a reason and should not be destroyed for profit!

www.thegreenregister.com