Man, 67, with ALS becomes 10th person in the world to get brain chip that lets ... trends now

Man, 67, with ALS becomes 10th person in the world to get brain chip that lets ... trends now
Man, 67, with ALS becomes 10th person in the world to get brain chip that lets ... trends now

Man, 67, with ALS becomes 10th person in the world to get brain chip that lets ... trends now

A man with Lou Gehrig's disease, also known as ALS, is the 10th person to receive a brain chip that lets him take control of his life using just his mind.

Mark, 67, was diagnosed in 2020 and has slowly lost his physical abilities like accessing his phone or feeding himself, but that soon to change after receiving Synchron brain-computer interface (BCI) last August. 

ALS is a disease that causes nerve cells to deteriorate and results in muscle weakness and reduced dexterity until the person is eventually paralyzed - the entire process can take two to five years, and there is no cure. 

Mark is now able to send health notifications or pain reports to his provider using just by the BIC reading his brainwaves and translating them into actions carried out on a computer.

He will soon be able to use his thoughts for more exciting tasks like turning on Netflix and texting family and friends. 

Mark, an ALS victim, received a Synchron brain chip implant to help him control a computer with his mind

Mark, an ALS victim, received a Synchron brain chip implant to help him control a computer with his mind

Mark was diagnosed with ALS in 2020 and has already lost much of his motor functions including his ability to access his phone or feed himself

Mark was diagnosed with ALS in 2020 and has already lost much of his motor functions including his ability to access his phone or feed himself

Mark went into the trial feeling like it was a 'no-brainer' to him.

'I figured I had two choices: I could wallow in self-pity, or I could pick myself up by the bootstraps and do what I could to help,' he told CNN

Stentrode is known as the least invasive brain chip on the market, competing against Elon Musk's Neuralink brain chip which received FDA approval in May last year and just implanted the first human in January.

Synchron received approval from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to conduct human trials of the permanent implantable device in 2021.

Mark, who has two daughters and one granddaughter, works as a florist with plans to retire soon and continued lifting buckets of water and boxes of flowers until his muscles started to weaken and it became too difficult to continue.

Two years after his diagnosis, driving became too challenging and he eventually moved in with his brother and his brother's family, mourning the loss of his independence.

'It was a hard pill to swallow,' said Mark. 'I still consider myself young.' 

He continued: 'I lived alone for 13 years, so I was used to doing everything by myself.'

Although Mark has lost much of his dexterity like picking up a pencil or scrolling through a phone, he is still able to talk - but that may change overtime.

Along with sending health-related notes, he is able to play a ping-pong-type video game, in which he has to intently focus to move the bar and relax his mind to stop it from moving.

In 2021, Musk released a "video showing a monkey implanted with a Neuralink chip doing the same thing. 

The brain chip is implanted through the neck and a separate device is inserted in the chest cavity to transmit thoughts to a computer

The brain chip is implanted through the neck and a separate device is inserted in the chest cavity to transmit thoughts to a computer

The brain chip, called a Stentrode, is inserted into the motor cortex where it can decipher the brainwaves associated with certain cognitive functions

The brain chip, called a Stentrode, is inserted into the motor cortex where it can decipher the brainwaves associated with certain cognitive functions

The brain chip, about the size of a paper clip, is implanted in the brain's motor cortex, which generates signals to direct the movement of the body.

Implantation requires a 'minimally invasive' procedure involving a small 'keyhole' incision in the neck, similar to the insertion of stents in the heart.

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