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Brain Implants Revives Paralysed Manfully

After obtaining microchip implants in his Brain, a fully paralyzed man with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) can now converse with his family. According to a study published this week in the journal Nature Communications, it is the first time an utterly locked-in person, conscious and intellectually able but utterly paralyzed – has been able to communicate in whole sentences.

In 2015, the 36-year-old German man was diagnosed with ALS, a rare degenerative neurological system illness that causes muscle control loss. When a person living with ALS cannot talk, eye-tracking technology can be used to choose letters on a screen. They can respond to yes or no questions with tiny eye movements as the disease progresses.

The patient’s motor cortex – the region at the top of the human Brain that controls movement – was implanted with two microchips, each measuring around 1.5mm wide.  The subject was then taught to visualize physical motions by the researchers. They took this procedure to obtain a trustworthy signal from the Brain. They’d next try to decipher this signal and turn it into a directive. This had worked in prior experiments, but it didn’t work this time. When the implanted electrodes in the man’s Brain recorded an increase in activity, a computer would play a rising audio tone. A fall in Brain activity would play a descending tone.

The researchers added that within two days, the man learned to control the tone’s frequency. Before his condition progressed, family members would hold up a grid of letters against a background of four colors. Family members would point to each color section and row and interpret any eye movement as a “yes.” The researchers introduced software to mimic this technique. The man would hear the words of a color.

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