A brain implant changed her life. Then it was removed against her will.

Nita Farahany, a legal scholar and ethicist at Duke University in North Carolina who has written a book on neurological rights, said: “A patient does not need to go through a forced explanation process. device.

“If there is evidence that the brain-computer interface can become part of the human selves, it seems unlikely that conditions other than medical necessity should allow that BCI to be examined. broken without the user’s consent, Ienca said. “If it’s a person’s composition, then you’re essentially removing something of that person’s composition against their will.” Ienca likens it to forced organ harvesting, which is prohibited under international law.

Mark Cook, a neuroscientist who worked on the experiment in which Leggett volunteered, sympathizes with the company, which he says is “ahead of its time.” “I get a lot of mail about this; a lot of people wonder how cruel it is,” he said. But Cook feels that results like these are always possible in drug and medical device trials. He stressed that it is important that participants are fully aware of these possibilities before they participate in such trials.

However, Ienca and Gilbert thought something had to change. For example, companies should have insurance that covers the maintenance of devices if volunteers need to keep them after the end of a clinical trial. Or perhaps the states could step in and provide the necessary funding.

Burkhart has a proposal of his own. “These companies have a responsibility to support these devices in one way or another,” he said. At a minimum, he said, companies should set aside funds to pay for ongoing maintenance of devices and only remove them when users are ready.

Burkhart also thinks the industry can do with a set of standards that allow the use of components in multiple devices. Take batteries, for example. He pointed out that it would be easier to change batteries in a device if companies in the field used the same type of battery. Farahany agrees. “One potential solution… is to make devices interoperable so that others can serve over time,” she said.

“The types of challenges we are observing for the first time will become more and more common in the future,” says Ienca. Several large companies, including Blackrock Neural Technology And Exact neuroscienceare making substantial investments in brain implant technology. And searching for “brain-computer interface” on an online clinical trial registry yields more than 150 results. Burkhart believes that between 30 and 35 people have received brain-computer interfaces similar to his.

Gilbert has expressed interest in future brain transplant trials, but her recent stroke may disqualify her from other studies, Gilbert said. Since the trial ended, she has tried many different drug combinations to help control her seizures. She still remembers her transplant.

She told Gilbert: “Ultimately, turning off my device was the beginning of a grieving period for me. “Loss—a feeling that I have lost something precious and dear to me that cannot be replaced. It’s a part of me.”


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