Doctors from Netherlands perform brain implant for the first time in history

Doctors from Netherlands have performed the first-ever brain implant on a 58-year-old woman paralysed by Lou Gehrig’s disease (also known as amyotrophic lateral sclerosis-ALS).

With this, she became the first patient to use a brain-computer interface. The implant has enabled paralysed women to communicate in day-to-day life via a speech computer.

What is the case?

Prior to this implant, the ALS disease had caused nerve degeneration in the women and she was left completely locked-in. Her motor neurons had deteriorated to the point where she could only control her eye muscles.

First-ever brain implant

  • Doctors in first-ever brain implant directly installed a device called an electrocorticograph (ECoG) on the women’s brain. The device has electrodes fitted in the brain.
  • Using these electrodes in brain, the patient can control the computer using brain signals, spell out messages at two letters per minute.

How it works?

  • These implanted electrodes detect brain activity that results when she moves fingers in her mind, and coverts it into a mouse click.
  • The patient has a screen in front of her that includes the alphabet and some additional functions (such as selecting previously spelled words or deleting letters).
  • Each letter on screen lights up one at a time, and by using her brain to click the mouse at the right time, she can compose words one letter at a time.
  • These words then are vocalized by a speech computer. The entire process is done wirelessly.

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Categories: International Current Affairs 2017Science and Technology Current Affairs - 2017

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