Brain Implant Is So Successful That Trial Participants Refuse To Turn the Device Off

A brain implant designed for people with head injuries has proven so successful during trials that participants refused to turn the device off. The deep brain stimulation implant, created by researchers at Stanford University to help people with head injuries to function again, attempts to boost activity between the regions of the brain in charge of memory, thinking, problem solving, and consciousness learning. Five people with head injuries reported that they were able to concentrate, remember, drive, and get through the day without needing a nap as a result of using the device during the trial. In fact, it proved so successful that two participants, chosen at random, refused to have the device turned off. Participants for the trial were selected based on their injuries, with those who took part having previously recovered from comas. Describing patients prior to the trial, Dr. Jaimie Henderson said, “It’s as if the lights had been dimmed and there just wasn’t enough electricity to turn them back up." By introducing electrical stimulation in specific areas of the brain, researchers hoped to turn the lights back up. The participants ranged in age from 22 to 60 and spent 90 days with the device turned on for 12 hours a day. By the end of the trial, all participants had improved by an average of 32%.