Thursday, May 22, 2008

Neural Interface for Stroke Victims: New Medical Technology

"Brain Implants May Let 'Locked-In' Patients Speak"
FoxNEWS (May 22, 2008)

Thanks to better health care, more people survive debilitating strokes these days. Almost 50,000 people in America have had brain-stem strokes, recovered consciousness, but can't move or talk.

"Imagine being trapped in your own body, aware of what's going on around you but unable to move or even speak.

"Thanks to a modern technological innovation known as a neural interface — a direct link between the human brain and a computer — there may be hope for sufferers of what's commonly known as 'locked-in syndrome.' "

"As portrayed in the 2007 movie 'The Diving Bell and the Butterfly,' locked-in patients are conscious, but fully paralyzed except for their eyes. ..."

This is very much an emerging technology: so far, it takes about a day for the information processing system to sort out vowels from the patient's speech center. But researchers and doctors are hoping to have the man who had a brain-stem stroke 'speaking' vowels in about a year.

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