In the future, brain implants will cure paralysis and disease

This article or excerpt is included in the GLP’s daily curated selection of ideologically diverse news, opinion and analysis of biotechnology innovation.

nside the biomedical electronics lab at GE Global Research in Niskayuna, New York, Jeff Ashe, a principal engineer, holds up a mechanical pencil and points to its thin graphite point. That, he says, is the size of the new wireless brain implants GE is developing. The hope is that smaller, more biocompatible implants will help the paralyzed walk and provide a more effective way to treat diseases that affect the brain.

Neuroscientists have implanted such devices in the brains of several paralyzed patients. But today’s implants are not practical solutions. They capture only a crude picture of activity inside the brain, and they invariably begin to fail after a year or two, in large part because brain tissue begins encapsulating them in scar tissue. The software that interprets signals from the implants has gotten much better in recent years, but the implants themselves have changed little.

Some of the implants under development at GE should be about the same size as the neurons they’re measuring. According to Andrew Schwartz, a professor of neurobiology at the University of Pittsburgh, there is good evidence that making them so small will minimize the scarring. The implants are also being designed to have 10 times as many electrodes, so they will be able to record from thousands of neurons instead of just a couple of hundred. They should be wireless, too, eliminating the hardwired electrical connections that often fail and can cause infection.

Read the full, original story: Designing Brain Implants to Detect More and Last Longer

Outbreak
Outbreak Daily Digest
Biotech Facts & Fallacies
Talking Biotech
Genetics Unzipped
a a b b a f ac a

Video: Death by COVID: The projected grim toll in historical context

The latest statistics, as of July 10, show COVID-19-related deaths in U.S. are just under 1,000 per day nationally, which is ...
mag insects image superjumbo v

Disaster interrupted: Which farming system better preserves insect populations: Organic or conventional?

A three-year run of fragmentary Armageddon-like studies had primed the journalism pumps and settled the media framing about the future ...
dead bee desolate city

Are we facing an ‘Insect Apocalypse’ caused by ‘intensive, industrial’ farming and agricultural chemicals? The media say yes; Science says ‘no’

The media call it the “Insect Apocalypse”. In the past three years, the phrase has become an accepted truth of ...
types of oak trees

Infographic: Power of evolution? How oak trees came to dominate North American forests

Over the course of some 56 million years, oaks, which all belong to the genus Quercus, evolved from a single undifferentiated ...
biotechnology worker x

Can GMOs rescue threatened plants and crops?

Some scientists and ecologists argue that humans are in the midst of an "extinction crisis" — the sixth wave of ...
food globe x

Are GMOs necessary to feed the world?

Experts estimate that agricultural production needs to roughly double in the coming decades. How can that be achieved? ...
eating gmo corn on the cob x

Are GMOs safe?

In 2015, 15 scientists and activists issued a statement, "No Scientific consensus on GMO safety," in the journal Environmental Sciences ...
Screen Shot at PM

Charles Benbrook: Agricultural economist and consultant for the organic industry and anti-biotechnology advocacy groups

Independent scientists rip Benbrook's co-authored commentary in New England Journal calling for reassessment of dangers of all GMO crops and herbicides ...
Screen Shot at PM

ETC Group: ‘Extreme’ biotechnology critic campaigns against synthetic biology and other forms of ‘extreme genetic engineering’

The ETC Group is an international environmental non-governmental organization (NGO) based in Canada whose stated purpose is to monitor "the impact of emerging technologies and ...
Share via
News on human & agricultural genetics and biotechnology delivered to your inbox.
Optional. Mail on special occasions.
Send this to a friend