These Brain Implants Could Electrocute People Out Of A Coma
Aadhya Khatri - Feb 14, 2020
OneZero suggests that we could use electrodes to send jolts directly into brain parts associated with consciousness to help these patients get out of a coma
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Patients who have fallen into a coma have little chance of waking up if they have been in that state for a long time. OneZero, a recent study, suggests that we could use electrodes to send jolts directly into brain parts associated with consciousness to help these patients get out of a coma.
This study is the work of researchers from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and it has been published on Neuron, a biweekly peer-reviewed scientific journal. What the researchers did was to use a technique dubbed deep brain stimulation and then implant electrodes into macaque monkeys’ brains.
In this method, the experts aimed at a part called central lateral thalamus in the brain of anesthetized monkeys. In tests, the treated monkeys opened their eyes, moved their limbs, bodies, and faces. Their vitals also changed after being zapped.
This is surely a good sign but do not put your hopes up just yet. When the scientists stop stimulating, the monkeys fell back into the coma again, and the point here is to help the subjects regain their consciousness, not to wake them up temporarily.
We may have to wait for a few more years until the day when using electrodes can zap people out of comas.
The first thing the researchers have to do is to test if the monkeys could perform complex activities when they are temporarily awake or not. Next, when the method can actually wake animals up for good, the experts need to perform a lot more tests before the treatment can be cleared to be used on a human patient.