A brain implant allows computers mind controlled in the first tests with humans: Recently, the first human tests of a device designed to treat the brain by electrical stimulation have been carried out and have given some very promising results, according to New Atlas.
Stentrode, an implant that has the potential to treat a wide range of neurological diseases, has brought significant improvements in the quality of life of a couple of Australian men suffering from motor neuron disease (MNE), cause among others of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis.
In 2016, researchers in Australia demonstrated a new type of implant in the brain of sheep whose idea was to offer a way to record brain activity and stimulate the organ without the need for invasive surgery in which a piece of skull was carved to insert wires and electrodes.
In this regard, Stentrode can be implanted through a small incision in the neck. Once inside, the device is guided through a blood vessel by X-rays until it rests on the motor cortex, the region of the brain responsible for planning and carrying out voluntary movements.
There it is able to monitor electrical signals coming from the brain and stimulate brain regions that correspond to particular muscle movements, according to New Atlas.
Currently, Stentrode has been implanted in the brains of 2 men: one in August last year and another in April this year.
Brain implant allows computers mind controlled
Both suffer from EMN and use technology at home as part of their daily activities.
In the case of Phillip O'keefe, who is the second recipient, he has lost strength and flexibility in his arms in the last 6 months due to the progression of the disease, which slowly kills the neurons of the brain and ends up causing paralysis.
The illness has made it impossible for him to use a computer keyboard with his hands. However, thanks to the stentrode device is having some progress.
In fact, both have managed to perform actions such as clicking and zooming, with an accuracy of more than 90%, and even write at speeds of up to 20 characters per minute.
The implant records your brain activity and transmits it wirelessly to a small receiver that you carry in your chest. A computer then translates the signals into on-screen commands.
"It's about retraining your brain to work in a different way," O'keefe explained.
"It's just concentration, but riding a bike becomes a natural thing," he added.
O'keefe can now use the Stentrode system to surf the Internet, write emails and check the status of your bank accounts. And when you think about moving your left ankle, you are able to make a click with the mouse.
"Bringing this technology into practice, taking it now to the clinical stage where it is really helping someone, is what we dreamed of when we started," commented associate professor of Neurology Tom Oxley, who has been working on the Stentrode device at the University of Melbourne (Australia) since 2011.
Thus, in the long run, the developers hope that paralysis sufferers will be able to control robotic exoskeletons.
Brain implant allows computers mind controlled
This nasal spray might be able to block coronavirus infections
The first vaccines against coronavirus may not be able to block infections, as explained in Doctor Anthony Fauci in statements that collects BGR.
And, even though it's too early to know exactly how vaccinated people will cope with COVID-19, one possible scenario involves testing positive after vaccination.
Thus, the virus would be able to infect the nose, which is usually the first stage of infection. However, by the time the virus settles, the body will already be trained to recognize and neutralize it, which would prevent COVID-19 from descending into the lower airways and multiplying to such an extent that respiratory complications appear.
In this regard, scientists are also working on drugs that could block the infection completely. For example, with monoclonal antibodies, which could provide an impulse of neutralizing antibodies that give the patient temporary immunity.
Work is also under way on a drug called ivermectin, which showed questionable efficacy in a trial in India.
However, one of the most exciting ideas so far, according to BGR, is a nasal spray that has the potential to give a full day of protection against infection.
The spray has already been tested on ferrets but now scientists will have to study the compound in humans and see if it is also effective.
Thus, the drug can block the virus from infecting the cells of the nose and lungs by getting between the receptors of the cells and the tip protein that acts as a key that opens those cells. Without access to cells, the virus cannot replicate itself.
"Replication of the virus in ferrets was completely blocked," the authors of the study, funded by the National Institutes of Health and the Columbia University Medical Center, in the United States, have revealed.
"If it works so well in humans, you could sleep in a bed with someone infected or be with your infected children and still be safe," explained Dr. Anne Moscona.
The spray contains a lipopeptide made from a cholesterol particle attached to an amino acid chain. The lipopeptide exactly matches a sequence of amino acids in the spike protein used to adhere to cells.
According to the researchers, the tip protein opens to expose 2 Chains of amino acids that bind to the cell wall. The cell closes to complete the process normally but that's where the lipopeptide is inserted, and the virus can't stick to the cell.
"It's like you're closing a zipper, but you put another zipper inside, so the 2 sides can't come together," commented Columbia University microbiologist Matteo Porotto.
In addition, lipoprotein is affordable to produce and comes in the form of a lyophilized white powder, so unlike vaccines that are in Phase 3 of testing, it does not need refrigeration.