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.