Brain research Implants in the brain restored a way for the incapacitated to express their wishes: “Thank you. I want to listen to one band now. ”

Microchips in the brain can open locks from those whose connections to the outside world are completely broken – but the senses and the brain are working. “I love my son” was one of the messages.

Completely an immobile 36-year-old German patient has received help from two implants that were installed in his brain.

They contained a bundle of electrodes that had been made sensitive to electrical signals from the brain.

Now the patient has been able to share a few sentences with his family. It succeeded when he focused on the alphabet, for example. They allowed him to produce text slowly.

Such implants have relieved patients in the past.

In general, patients inevitably progress ALS. It gradually degrades the motor nerve cells that control the function of the muscles that depend on the will.

Investigators say the man’s condition had developed into a very serious one. The success of communication, albeit slow communication, is a major step forward in treatment.

“For the first time, we got messages out of a person who no longer has any movements,” says the neuroscientist Jonas Zimmermann From the Wyss Center In Switzerland. It is a private research center specializing in neuroscience.

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Patient was in a so-called apparent coma.

It is also known as locking syndrome, the bulletin says In the Science Alert online service. The syndrome is described, for example Neurologyin another study.

Although these patients are unable to walk or speak, they are aware of the environment through their various senses, such as sight, hearing, taste, and smell. Thinking is also normal.

However, if the patient does not have the ability to move the mouth or tongue, his communication is limited. If the patient can move his eyes, he can “point” to them with letters, for example, and thus make himself understood.

For others, even this communication is no longer successful.

EXPERIMENT the offered German man had contracted ALS in 2015.

Soon he had already lost the ability to walk and talk. A year later, he was put on a ventilator. A year later, he lost the ability to focus.

The condition worsened, which also caused his family to agree to an experiment where he would get implants in his brain.

The chips were taken to the part of the brain that controls the movement of the muscles.

One chip had 64 needle-like electrodes. They grabbed signals from the nervous system when the patient, for example, thinks about movement.

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These weak signals and stimuli were sent to the computer. It changed impulses to “yes” or “no”.

Previously some ALS patients have been able to communicate with a computer text program using such implants.

However, this is the first time an ALS patient who does not have the ability to even use their eyes is able to do the same.

“In the past, it has been suspected whether this is even possible,” he says Mariska Vansteensel from the experiment to the scientific journal Science.

He is a researcher at the brain-computer interfaces at the Medical Research Center of the University of Utrecht in the Netherlands. This time, he was not involved in the investigation.

Technology had to practice for months. Gradually, the patient learned to control the decay and rate of brain signals.

The patient was able to respond using a hyphenation and writing program. The patient chose certain letters in his thoughts. It sent a small signal to the computer.

The program speaks them out loud, and the letters form words and sentences. Sometimes the patient could only produce words.

There was a problem with the program. Selecting one letter could take up to a minute.

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In addition, he answered “yes” or “no” to simple questions with only about 80 percent accuracy. Therefore, the same questions had to be repeated.

Arrangement of equipment for the patient by the side is described here.

He also wanted goulash soup and beer.

First the word the completely immobile ALS patient said was “thank you”. It was addressed to the leading neurobiologist in the study To Niels Birbaumer.

He then expressed a series of requests, such as a “head massage”. Next, “I’d like to listen to the band’s album in high volume.”

After a long time of installing the implants, he sent a message: “I love my son”. He then asked his child to watch a Disney movie with him.

On day 462, the patient expressed that “his greatest wish is a new bed”. He also wanted goulash soup and beer.

“If a patient forms such sentences even in a completely locked state, it is only positive,” commented the one who provided the treatment, i.e. Ujwal Chaudhary To The Guardian.

The study was published scientific journal Nature Communications.

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