Use of brain implants in humans
Aflalo, Tyson Division of Biology and Biological Engineering, California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, California.
- Paralysis and brain implants
- Neural activity
- Neural implantation
- Links to Primary Literature
- Additional Readings
A brain (or neural) implant is a technological system that enables communication between the brain and electronic devices, thus permitting brain activity to be modified, recorded, and/or translated for the manipulation of devices such as a computer cursor or a robotic arm. The modification of brain activity, typically through electrical stimulation, has a number of medical applications, including the disruption of maladaptive brain activity that arises from neurological diseases such as epilepsy and Parkinson's disease, or the creation of new sensory pathways to assist, for example, the blind or individuals who have lost their sense of touch and body position. Brain recordings can be used to monitor abnormal brain activity and trigger assistive measures (for instance, detection of the onset of an epileptic seizure can trigger therapeutic electrical stimulation to disrupt seizure progression and notify medical personnel). For the paralyzed, a brain implant can record neural activity in order to directly control external assistive devices such as robotic arms, computer interfaces, and wheelchairs. A brain implant for assisting paralyzed individuals is commonly referred to as a neural prosthetic, and a more detailed look at brain implants from this perspective will be discussed herein. See also: Biomedical engineering; Brain; Computer; Control systems; Medical control systems; Motor systems; Parkinson's disease; Prosthesis; Robotics; Seizure disorders; Spinal cord disorders
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