Implants in the brain restored communication Science


A completely immobile 36-year-old German patient has received help from two implants that were implanted in his brain.

They contained a bundle of electrodes that had been made sensitive to electrical signals from the brain.

Now the patient has been able to share a few sentences with his family. It succeeded when he focused on the alphabet, for example. They allowed him to produce text slowly.

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Such implants have relieved patients in the past.

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In general, patients inevitably progress als disease. It gradually degrades the motor nerve cells that control the function of the muscles that depend on the will.

“For the first time, we got messages out of someone who no longer has any movements,” says the researcher Jonas Zimmermann From the Wyss Center In Switzerland.

The patient was in a so-called apparent coma. Although these patients are unable to walk or talk, they are aware of the environment through their different senses. Thinking is also normal.

The German man who offered for the experiment had contracted alsi in 2015. Chip implants were installed in the part of the brain that controls muscle movement.

One chip has 64 needle-like electrodes. They grabbed signals from the nervous system when, for example, a patient thinks about movement.

These weak signals were sent to the computer. It changed impulses to “yes” or “no”.

This is the first time an als patient who does not have the ability to even use their eyes will be able to do this.

Gradually, the patient learned to control the decay and rate of brain signals. He chose certain letters in his thoughts, and a small signal went out to the computer.

The program speaks the letters aloud, and the letters form words and sentences. Sometimes the patient could only produce words.

There was a problem with the program. Selecting one letter could take up to a minute.

In addition, he answered “yes” or “no” to simple questions with only about 80 percent accuracy. Therefore, the same questions had to be repeated.

Arrangement of equipment for the patient by the side is described here.

The first word the completely immobile ALS patient said was “thank you”. It was addressed to the leading psychologist in the study Niels Birbaumerille.

He then expressed a series of requests, such as a “head massage”. Next, “I’d like to listen to the band’s album in high volume.”

The study was published scientific journal Nature Communications.


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