The Download: brain implant removal, and Nvidia’s AI payoff

1 year ago 63

This is today's edition of The Download, our weekday newsletter that provides a daily dose of what's going on in the world of technology.

A brain implant changed her life. Then it was removed against her will.Sticking an electrode inside a person’s brain can do more than treat a disease. Take the case of Rita Leggett, an Australian woman whose experimental brain implant designed to help people with epilepsy changed her sense of agency and self. 

Leggett told researchers that she “became one” with her device. It helped her to control the unpredictable, violent seizures she routinely experienced, and allowed her to take charge of her own life. So she was devastated when, two years later, she was told she had to remove the implant because the company that made it had gone bust.

The removal of this implant, and others like it, might represent a breach of human rights, ethicists say in a paper published earlier this month. And the issue will only become more pressing as the brain implant market grows in the coming years and more people receive devices like Leggett’s. Read the full story.

—Jessica Hamzelou

You can read more about what happens to patients when their life-changing brain implants are removed against their wishes in the latest issue of The Checkup, Jessica’s weekly newsletter giving you the inside track on all things biotech. Sign up to receive it in your inbox every Thursday.

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