Science Questions

Could we use gene therapy to enhance cognition?

Sat, 29th Oct 2011

Part of the show Gene Therapy and Stem Cell Therapy

Question

Ryan Chown, Facebook asked:

Is it possible to use gene and/or stem cell therapies to enhance the thinking capacities of the brain?

Answer

Simon -   I think that would be a very exciting idea and I think there's been a film about it recently, Planet of the Apes.  But really, even in the simplest of genetic diseases, what were learning is that we don't understand everything about the pathology and how the genetic mutation makes the disease.  And so, as I mentioned about glucocerebrosidase deficiency [Gauchers disease] we find actually that its a very complex disease even though its just one gene missing.  And so therefore, there are many, many different genes that are contributing to different aspects of thought and I don't think wed even know where to start in terms of enhancement of thinking.

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