ALS patients perform essential tasks with the aid of surgically implanted brain-computer interface (BCI)


eMediNexus    20 January 2023

A recent study published in JAMA Neurology reveals that patients with severe paralysis can now freely carry out necessary chores like internet banking, shopping, and emailing owing to a surgically implanted brain-computer interface (BCI).


The study included four patients suffering severe bilateral upper limb paralysis due to amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) and primary lateral sclerosis (PLS). They participated in the safety and feasibility Stentrode with Thought-Controlled Digital Switch (SWITCH) trial. The electrodes are connected by a wire to a small electronic device in the chest during the procedure, and this device decodes and wirelessly communicates conscious thoughts to the computer.


Experts stated that the patients tolerated the treatment well and were discharged within 48 hours. According to the research, they used the BCI and eye-tracking system to complete chores like online shopping and banking and write emails and texts. The system was found to be 94% accurate.


The researchers observed the patients for 12 months after the implant and found that the device did not migrate from its initial placement. They also noted that there were no major adverse events (AEs). Headache and bruising at the incision site were two minor adverse events but resolved without further complaint.


Experts are optimistic regarding BCI use in patients with subcortical stroke paralysis. Impressive outcomes from more research are anticipated. The current approach might thus assist in addressing the urgent and unmet requirement for methods to resume lost communication in the needy patient population.


(Source: https://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/987141?src=#vp_1)

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