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Elon Musk’s Neuralink will begin a human study and evaluate its brain chip in patients with paralysis

The Elon Musk-founded neurotechnology business will soon start looking for patients to test the efficacy and safety of an implantable brain chip, which would enable users to control a computer cursor or keyboard with their thoughts.

The first human study of Neuralink’s brain chip has been approved, according to the company’s creator Elon Musk. The brain implant will be tested in a six-year research aimed at paralysis sufferers, the neurotechnology business said on Tuesday. Patient recruitment has been authorized.

Reuters reports that patients with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) or neck injuries who are paralyzed may participate in the clinical study for a brain implant. The purpose of the study is to evaluate the implant’s effectiveness and safety in enabling users to mentally manipulate a computer mouse or keyboard. The researchers will accomplish this by surgically implanting the device in a region of the brain that regulates movement using a robot.

The researchers have not yet revealed how many participants will be enlisted in the study, which will take about six years to complete. However, the business’s first goal was to get permission to implant its gadget in 10 patients. According to current and former employees, however, negotiations between the business and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) resulted in a reduction in the intended number of patients in response to safety concerns voiced by the FDA. The precise number of people who received FDA approval is still unknown.

Even though the business was already the subject of a federal probe for how it handled animal testing when it earlier announced in May that the FDA had approved its first-in-human clinical trial. Experts predict that it could take more than ten years for the business to obtain approval to sell the BCI device commercially, even if it is determined to be safe for human use.

For those who are not know, Neuralink is a neurotechnology business that Elon Musk launched in 2016. The company’s main objective is to create an implanted brain-computer interface (BCI) that can convert ideas into deeds. In other words, Neuralink wants to create a BCI that can be used to replace lost brain functions and control outside objects like computers or prosthetic limbs.

Despite being in its early phases of development, Neuralink has made some notable strides. A functional BCI that may be used to direct a computer cursor with a monkey’s thoughts was demonstrated by Neuralink in 2020. The business is presently developing a BCI that can be implanted in people.

Elon Musk, meantime, has grand aspirations for the Neuralink brain processor. According to the billionaire, it might be used to quickly implant chip devices for the treatment of ailments like obesity, autism, melancholy, and schizophrenia.