Neuroimplant allowed a paralyzed person to communicate and shop

Australian scientists have successfully tested the new brain-computer interface. Neuroprosthesis, introduced into the brain through the vascular system, allowed a completely immobilized patient to send messages, make purchases online, and manage finances. The results of the experiment were presented on August 6, 2020, at a meeting of the Society of Neurointerventional Surgery (SNIS). 

The first patient to experience the effect of the new technology was a completely paralyzed 75-year-old man. Severe motor disorders in the patient are associated with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, a progressive neurodegenerative disease that affects motor neurons in the brain and spinal cord. 

Specialists at the Royal Melbourne Hospital placed a controlled implant called a stentrode in the patient's brain. It is a set of electrodes placed on a wall, a tube that is used in surgery to extend the lumen of blood vessels. The implant provides two-way communication: sensors perceive electrical impulses coming from the brain's motor areas and redirect them to a computer. 

The procedure of implant placement in brain vessels was controlled by MRI and angiography - this allowed to place the stentrode exactly above the motor cortex. As a result, the patient was able to "force his thoughts" to type and send text messages, "walk" through online stores, and put his finances in order. According to Dr. Thomas Oxley, a leading expert, and author of the technology, the results of the first trial open up new prospects for patients with severe paralysis. 

- We need more research to confirm our preliminary results and prove the reliability of this innovative technology," says Oxley.

Aug. 7, 2020, 11:18 a.m.

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