Brain Implant Makes Woman Talk Again

The patient, who is 58 years old and wishes to remain anonymous, was diagnosed with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) in 2008. ALS, also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease or motor neurone disease, destroys the neurons that are required for voluntary muscle control. There’s no known cure. Within a couple of years, ALS usually causes complete paralysis. In this case the patient still has control of her eyes, but that’s about it.

A diagram illustrating the setup and use of the ECoG implant.

The doctors and engineers at UMC Utrecht installed a relatively simple brain implant called an electrocorticograph (ECoG). An ECoG is very similar to an EEG, only the electrical sensors are placed inside your skull against your brain, rather than externally on your scalp. Thus, the readings from an ECoG are a little sharper than an EEG, though no where near as clear or high-resolution as other techniques.


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Christopher Kemmett

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