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August 19th, 2009

Biologists napping while work militarized

Abstract:
Concerns about this kind of expansion of biochemical threats have since been reiterated by scientific and medical communities. For example, in 2006, the US National Academies produced a report called Globalization, Biosecurity, and the Future of the Life Sciences. The authors argued that recent advances in our understanding of how bioregulatory compounds work, of signalling processes and of the regulation of human gene expression — combined with developments in chemistry, synthetic biology and in technologies such as nanotechnology — have "opened up new and exceedingly challenging frontiers of concern".

More recently, a 2008 US National Academies report entitled Emerging Cognitive Neuroscience and Related Technologies, similarly argued that in cases in which 'agonists' of a particular system have been found to enhance some cognitive trait, an 'antagonist' might be developed that could reduce it and vice versa. If dopamine agonists enhance attention, say, so dopamine antagonists might disrupt it. They also warned, among other things, that nanotechnologies could overcome the blood-brain barrier and "exploit existing transport mechanisms to transmit substances into the brain in analogy with the Trojan horse".

Source:
nature.com

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