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Brain implant may alleviate long-term effects of traumatic injury

  • 2 Min To Read
  • 3 months ago

A recent study suggests that a device implanted in the brains of people with traumatic brain injuries (TBI) can substantially improve cognitive function. The study primarily aimed to assess the safety of the device, so further research is needed to confirm its efficacy.

Traumatic brain injuries can have long-term cognitive impairments, among other effects, and there are currently no effective therapies for this condition. In an attempt to address this problem, researchers at Stanford University developed an implant that stimulates the thalamus, a region deep in the brain associated with alertness, learning, and memory.

The device, which works similar to a pacemaker, delivers electrical pulses to specific parts of the brain. The researchers recruited six participants with moderate to severe TBIs and ongoing cognitive impairment. Before implantation, the participants took a neurological assessment to measure mental speed, processing, and flexibility.

After the device was implanted, the participants received stimulation for 12 hours a day, during waking hours, and it was switched off at night. One year later, five of the participants were reassessed using the same neurological assessment. All five showed test scores that were between 15 and 52 percent higher compared to their pre-implant results.

The study was small and primarily focused on demonstrating the safety of the device. One participant dropped out due to a scalp infection from the surgery, but they recovered from it. Overall, no other serious side effects were reported.

The researchers plan to conduct a larger study to further evaluate the safety and efficacy of the implant. They believe that deep brain stimulation could potentially benefit millions of people suffering from the effects of traumatic brain injury.

In conclusion, a small study has found that an implant stimulating the thalamus in the brain can improve cognitive function in people with traumatic brain injuries. Further research is needed to confirm these findings, but the results are promising for individuals who currently have limited treatment options for this condition.

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