Brain Implants May Let ‘Locked-In’ Patients Speak

Imagine being trapped in your own body, aware of what’s going on around you but unable to move or even speak.Thanks to a modern technological innovation known as a neural interface — a direct link between the human brain and a computer — there may be hope for sufferers of what’s commonly known as “locked-in syndrome.”

As portrayed in the 2007 movie “The Diving Bell and the Butterfly,” locked-in patients are conscious, but fully paralyzed except for their eyes.

Thanks to advances in life-support technology and rising survival rates following brain-stem strokes, there may now be as many as 50,000 locked-in patients in the United States, the National Institutes of Health estimates.

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