Hope for paralysed patients: 'The brain speaks'
Washington: In what could let severely paralysed people speak with their thoughts, scientists claim to have found evidence that the human brain speaks.
In a study, a team at University of Utah translated
brain signals into words using two grids of 16 microelectrodes
implanted beneath the skull but atop the brain, `The Journal
of Neural Engineering` reports.
"We have been able to decode spoken words using
only signals from the brain with a device that has promise for
long-term use in paralysed patients who cannot now speak,"
said lead scientist Prof Bradley Greger.
Because the method needs much more improvement and
involves placing electrodes on the brain, the scientists say
it will be a few years before clinical trials on paralysed
people who cannot speak due to so-called "locked-in syndrome".
In their study, the scientists showed the feasibility
of translating brain signals into computer-spoken words. They placed grids of tiny microelectrodes over speech centres in the brain of a male volunteer with severe epileptic seizures. The man already had a craniotomy - temporary partial skull removal - so doctors could place larger, conventional electrodes to locate source of his seizures and stop them.