There may be an answer for people suffering from traumatic brain injuries. It's a device called a brain-machine-brain interface — and it has the potential to revolutionize the way brain damage is treated in humans.
As it stands, there is no effective way to treat damage and improve function after someone experiences a traumatic brain injury (TBI). This is a problem for the 1.5 million Americans who suffer from TBI and the 800,000 stroke victims who suffer weakness or paralysis in the U.S. annually.
Closing the Gap
But now, a team of neuroscientists from Case Western Reserve University and the University of Kansas Medical Center have devised a solution that appears to work in rats. It's an implantable prosthesis called a brain-machine-brain interface that serves as a closed-loop microelectronic system. The device works by recording signals from one part of the brain, processing them in real time, and then linking the injury by stimulating a second part of the brain that has lost connectivity. Essentially, the prosthetic works by bridging the gaps caused by brain injuries, which in turn facilitates repair.