Sections SEARCH Skip to content Skip to site index Health Subscribe Log In Subscribe Log In Advertisement Supported by Trilobites ByVeronique Greenwood May 3, 2018 One stormy afternoon in Ljubljana, the capital of Slovenia, thunder rolled, a bolt of lightning streaked across the sky, and the television and air conditioner went dark in the apartment of a woman with electrodes implanted in her brain. Lightning had struck the building. But the appliances were not the only things affected. After about an hour, the woman, who had had the electrodes put in five years before to help with debilitating muscle spasms in her neck, noticed her symptoms coming back. When she went to see her doctors the next day, they found that the pacemaker-like stimulator that powered the electrodes had switched itself off in response to the lightning strike. In a study describing these events published Tuesday in the Journal of Neurosurgery, her doctors suggest that … [Read more...] about Lightning Struck Her Home. Then Her Brain Implant Stopped Working.
A lightning strike that hit a woman’s apartment in Slovenia shut down her brain implant in addition to destroying both her TV and air conditioner. The device was not destroyed like the others, according to U.S. News and World Report, but the woman noticed about an hour later that her neck tremor was returning and realized that the device had shut down. She had to go to the hospital the next day to have it reset. It was the first report of a brain implant being affected by lightning, and Dusan Flisar of University Medical Centre in Lubljana said the strike might have been fatal if the user had been recharging the device by plugging it in at the time, New Scientist reported. “If a huge surge of electricity enters the system, it could be conducted into the brain — we don’t know,” Flisar said, New Scientist said. Brain stimulators are used to treat movement disorders like Parkinson’s as well as dystonia that can cause involuntary contractions of … [Read more...] about Lightning Strike Shuts Down Woman’s Brain Implant
What if we could edit the sensations we feel; paste in our brain pictures that we never saw, cut out unwanted pain or insert non-existent scents into memory? University of California, Berkeley neuroscientists are building the equipment to do just that, using holographic projection into the brain to activate or suppress dozens and ultimately thousands of neurons at once, hundreds of times each second, copying real patterns of brain activity to fool the brain into thinking it has felt, seen or sensed something. The goal is to read neural activity constantly and decide, based on the activity, which sets of neurons to activate to simulate the pattern and rhythm of an actual brain response, so as to replace lost sensations after peripheral nerve damage, for example, or control a prosthetic limb. "This has great potential for neural prostheses, since it has the precision needed for the brain to interpret the pattern of activation. If you can read and write the language of the brain, you can … [Read more...] about Editing brain activity with holography
The convergence of artificial intelligence and brain-computer interfaces may soon restore sight to the blind, allow the paralyzed to move robotic limbs and cure any number of brain and nervous system disorders. But without regulation, this flurry of innovation spells trouble for humanity, warns a team of researchers led by Columbia University neuroscientist Rafael Yuste and University of Washington bioethicist Sara Goering. In a new essay in Nature, Yuste and Goering join more than two dozen physicians, ethicists, neuroscientists, and computer scientists, in calling for ethical guidelines to cover the evolving use of computer hardware and software to enhance or restore human capabilities. "We just want to ensure that this new technology which is so exciting, and which could revolutionize our lives, is used for the good of humankind," said Yuste, director of Columbia's Neurotechnology Center and a member of the Data Science Institute. Long the stuff of science fiction, the melding of … [Read more...] about Experts call for ethics rules to protect privacy, free will, as brain implants advance
Researchers report the success of a clinical trial that tested the effectiveness of deep brain stimulation for slowing function-related cognitive decline. This enables people affected by Alzheimer's to keep living independently for longer. According to a 2016 study that was published in Alzheimer's and Dementia, in the United States, someone develops Alzheimer's disease every 66 seconds. In total, the study authors note, about 5.4 million adults live with this condition. It is characterized by progressive memory loss and the impairment of other cognitive functions tied to conducting daily activities. There is currently no cure for Alzheimer's disease, so treatments focus on managing its symptoms. It is particularly important for people living with this condition to be able to carry out their day-to-day activities for as long as possible, in order to maintain a good quality of life. A recent clinical trial conducted by specialists at the Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center in … [Read more...] about Alzheimer’s: Brain implant could improve cognitive function