Could a brain scan determine your future?

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Could a brain scan determine your future?

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    Samantha Loney
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According to a publication in the journal Neuron, predicting the future through brain scans will soon become the norm. 


One of the many medical advancements in recent years involves scanning the brain in a process called neuroimaging. Neuroimaging is currently used to measure brain function, which helps us to understand activity in areas of the brain that correlate to our mental functions.  


Although neuroimaging is nothing new in the world of science, brain scans can be used to diagnose certain diseases and monitor blood flow to the brain. It’s safe to say that everything we do revolves around our brain receiving and transmitting messages. Not only does the brain affect the physical body, but the brain affects personality as well.  


John Gabrieli, a neuroscientist at MIT, says there’s, “growing evidence that brain measures can predict future outcomes or behaviours.” The scans would essentially help evaluate an individual’s strengths and weaknesses and would, therefore, be used as a tool to the education system. Brain scans could predict learning disabilities in children and even analyze how an individual processes information. These skills would eliminate time and frustration for both children and teachers alike by helping the curriculum fit the needs of individual students, lowering dropout rates and improving student grade point averages. 


The ability to predict the future through neuroimaging would also mean tremendous strides for the medical industry. Since mental illness is difficult to understand, these scans would become a useful tool in educating ourselves on mental illness and in providing a more accurate diagnosis to patients. In addition, doctors would be able to use the scans to predict which pharmaceuticals would be more effective on an individual basis. The days of trial and error would be over. 


These scans would benefit the criminal justice system too. A brain scan could potentially predict the likelihood of reoffenders and be used in speeding up the parole eligibility process, eliminating overcrowding in prisons.  Also, a brain scan could show how a person responds to certain punishments, meaning a world where “the crime fits the punishment” will become a world where “the individual fits the punishment.”  

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