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Tiny devices may help with motor function in neurodegenerative diseases

It may seem like science fiction but you just need to imagine for a moment tiny devices injected into a person's bloodstream guided by magnets to specific parts of the brain that could not only restore function but may even enhance a person's ability to do tasks, communicate and a host of other possibilities.

There doesn't seem to be any limit to funds made available when it comes to military uses but this is exactly what they are doing to enhance soldiers. In other words this is not science's reality.

According to an article in Neuroscience News, "Brain-computer interfaces are currently being used to assist those with neuromuscular disorders in regaining everyday functions such as mobility and communication. The military is developing BCI technology to aid members in rapid response to threats. Researchers investigate the ethical questions of using neurotech such as BCI on the battlefield."

But what might this have to do with Huntington's Disease?

According to a study conducted in 2021, "Brain–computer interfaces (BCIs) can restore communication to people who have lost the ability to move or speak. So far, a major focus of BCI research has been on restoring gross motor skills, such as reaching and grasping or point-and-click typing with a computer cursor. However, rapid sequences of highly dexterous behaviours, such as handwriting or touch typing, might enable faster rates of communication."

The study goes on to tell about a study participant whose hand was paralyzed due to a spinal cord injury. The participant "achieved typing speeds of 90 characters per minute with 94.1% raw accuracy online, and greater than 99% accuracy offline with a general-purpose autocorrect."

What could possibly get in the way?

The short answer is ethics. Ethics committees constantly intervene in anything medical, even if the patient wants to participate. Many of us in the HD community are subjected to ethics committees. From drugs that are still in the trial stage to end of life, we have to listen to someone else's "expert" opinion.

We all have to keep in mind that sometimes the experts are wrong.



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