Tag Archives: thoughts

Brain implant allows paralyzed man move his hands using his thoughts

After diving into a shallow wave at a beach and hitting the sandy bottom, Ian Burkhart severely injured his spinal cord and became paralyzed when he was only 19 years old. He lost the ability to use his legs and forearms due to where the injury occurred on his body.

According to a recent study, Burkhart, now 24 years old, has recovered his ability to move his wrist, hand and some of his fingers by using an electrical device that was implanted into his brain. The electrical device is connected to a sleeve of electrodes that he wears on his forearm.

Burkhart has recovered the functional movements by using the electrical device, said Chad Bouton. Bouton is the lead author of the study published April 13 in the journal Nature and the division leader, at the Feinstein Institute for Medical Research in New York, of neurotechnology and analytics.

Ian Burkhart, first person to benefit from the neural bypass technology. Image from Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center/Batelle.

According to Bouton, in order for Burkhart to recover his individual finger movements, the researchers had to discover and decipher certain brain signals. Soon after, they had to evaluate the electrical impulse pattern required to release on his forearm.

The researchers and doctors embedded a device with microelectrodes into the part of the brain that controls movement, his motor cortex. When Burkhart wears the sleeve, he has the ability to move and control his arm using brain-computer-interface technology, to translate these signals into electrical pulses in an individual’s’ brain, by using a computer. The sleeve’s 130 electrodes emits electrical impulses to his muscles, which makes them contract.

In an individual who is not paralyzed, signals from the brain move down the spinal cord to nerves connected to muscles in the body, making those muscles move. In paralyzed individuals, because of spinal cord injury, these signals still happen in the brain, yet can’t be transmitted to muscles. To deliver the signals directly to Burkhart’s muscles, the microchip in his brain and the electrode sleeve bypass the injury.

Burkhart can now complete daily tasks with his hand, including the ability to swipe a credit card, pour water into a cup and play Guitar Hero, with the electrical device’s help.

Fundamentally, Burkhart has the ability to make these movements by “mastering his thoughts,” said Dr. Ali Rezai. Rezai is a neurosurgeon at The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center where Burkhart was treated, and senior author of the study.

According to researchers, Burkhart’s capacity to move several of his fingers is a noteworthy discovery. They hope that one day this electrical device technology could help other individuals with paralysis, as well as individuals who, due to strokes or traumatic brain injuries, have lost movement.

Just breathe

Insomnia is the dark cloud that looms over your head late at night, taunting you, laughing at you as you toss and turn, as you beg for sleep to overtake you. It’s the endless thoughts that consume your mind, creating false insecurities and exaggerated life dreams that keep you thinking and contemplating everything that has ever happened in your life.

You obsess over every little thing that happened during the day, from a small conversation you had with you professor to deciding what you want to do with your life after college. Insomnia has zero mercy.

Don't be this guy. Just breathe through it. Photo from theawkwardyeti.com
Don’t be this guy. Just breathe through it. Photo from theawkwardyeti.com

No one can help the intensity or frequency that insomnia has on their life. People always say “Just relax! Stop thinking and go to sleep.” If it were that easy, insomnia wouldn’t be an issue, but unfortunately, no one can physically turn off their thoughts, their hopes, their chronic dark thoughts that enter the mind no matter the time of day.

Insomnia doesn’t care how physically and emotionally tired you are. The constant, unwavering thoughts that burn holes through your brain don’t care about how badly your eyes burn, how your head feels too heavy to even lift off your pillow, how your legs ache from the exhausting day, consisting of walking across campus multiple times in order to get to your classes on time.

The only way I can treat my insomnia is to let my brain do its thinking, let it work out all the anxieties, all the problems and insecurities that course through your mind all day everyday, and after an hour, if those thought fail to cease, try to focus on your breathing, in and out. Focus on the rise and fall of your chest, the feeling of the oxygen entering your lungs, then exiting. Breath in positive thoughts, exhale negative ones. It’s the only way I can gently and calmly fall asleep without the constant dread of excessive thoughts failing to let me sleep.

All you can do with insomnia is try your best to breathe, to let your brain do its thinking, and don’t stress about the lack of sleep you’re getting. Focus on the good and let go of the bad.

Why time is never time at all

It’s no secret that time is merely an illusion; it is simply a measurement of change. Time is perpetuated because of convenience or rather the necessity of convenience. But time does not cater to our convenience. We place such a strong emphasis on timeliness thus falling for its illusion and making it real for ourselves. We are taught from an early age that we must be dependent on time in order to function in reality. This fabrication has created many problems in our society. Continue reading Why time is never time at all