By Amy Kraft
Posting in Science
Researchers at the Monash Vision Group are developing implantable brain chips to help the blind see.
The Monash Vision Group at Australia's Monash University is developing a direct-to-brain bionic eye system that allows blind people to see.
A patient wears a pair of glasses equipped with a digital camera that acts like a retina and captures low-resolution black-and-white images.
The images are wirelessly sent to a brain chip, which sends signals to electrodes that penetrate into the visual cortex, the part of the brain that controls vision.
"When those electrodes are stimulated they produce sensations of light in the brain in the visual field of the recipient," the group's general manager Dr. Jeanette Pritchard tells ABC Online. "They're known as phosphenes and they're almost like pixels on a TV screen."
Although the images are too grainy to help blind people with reading or driving, Pritchard says this is a huge milestone for helping the blind see.
The team will start testing the system later this year on people who lost their sight in traumas. They are not sure yet if and how the bionic eye will work on people who have never seen.
Dr. Pritchard tells ABC Online:
"It's important that for our first patient that they have had full adult vision so that we know that their brain can process these kinds of signals because it has done so previously," Dr. Pritchard said.
"It will be a lot about how the patient can learn to interpret that information to the optimum level to get the most out of it."
Photo via Monash Vision Group
Apr 7, 2012
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20 years ago the cochlear implant was considered experimental and only for the rich. The cochlear implant is now considered therapy and is even covered by many ins companies (and Medicare). I have two of them and it is quite a nice change from being deaf as a rock. I am willing to bet 25~30 years from now this implant will be common place like the cochlear device. Coincidentially, the cochlear implant was also developed in Australia.
Amazing how much of the star trek universe is now coming to life, from science fiction into science reality....!
Nice for thouse who can afford, but fundamentally there are millions in the USA not able to afford basic healthcare insurance cover and are tossed on the Medicare/Medicade scrapheap. Oh, and don;t forget the millioons around thw world who have no healthcare and no clean water.
Your post is full of propaganda - and not even UK propaganda - against the NHS written to support some political agenda on your side of the pond. Lord only knows what that is, but our systems are so vastly different there is little comparison. I'm in the UK, I'm autistic (not registered disabled), my eldest daughter is profoundly disabled and requires 100% care as a result. I'm also a single parent so I cannot work or make social security payments, the government does this for me because its cheaper than putting her into residential care. She receives 1000s of pounds sterling per year from the NHS coffers for respite in residential care once a month to give me a break, all my and her dental and medical care is free, prescriptions are free and I even get help with travel to and from medical appointments. If someone has a chance of any quality of life at all for a length of time, our doctors are bound by law and by moral duty to promote that. So my daughters care costs maybe three thousand pounds per year which could be used for one treatment that wont help the recipient beyond enabling them to suffer for another few weeks if given to a dying patient. Yes there is limited money, it is spent where it is needed - and palliative care is low on the agenda compared to say cancer research. However, your post tries to make out that the NHS is so skint that it lets people die needlessly, and that UK doctors deliberately withdraw treatment from someone who isnt already on life support and dying anyway. That goes against the Hypocratic Oath that all doctors take which prevents them from doing harm even to a dying person, no ethical doctor would allow that to happen. Please think straight before you post bullsh*t like this, it only makes you look uninformed. The UK's system is in trouble, yes, like all our systems - simply because we persist with a democratic autocracy that wont let us grow because it know we have already outgrown it as a species. Change that, and put some perspective on the troubles we have with something as petty as finance. Peace
And expect these technologies only to be available to the Elite and wealthy. Not the masses. BTW, wealthy means the 1%. Not your neighbor driving a BMW or Mercedes.
Sounds very crude compared to an inspiring true story published in :"The brain that changes itself" NORMAN DOIDGE, MD http://www.normandoidge.com/normandoidge/MAIN.html The lady concerned was able to see via a digital camera and pc feeding stimulation to to her back! This book is an awesome read. i recommend it to one and all I believe these Monash guys should team up with the neroplasicians and progress would speed up. Below is an except from Normans literally mind blowing revelation "In the course of my travels I met a scientist who enabled people who had been blind since birth to begin to see, another who enabled the deaf to hear; I spoke with people who had had strokes decades before and had been declared incurable, who were helped to recover with neuroplastic treatments; I met people whose learning disorders were cured and whose IQs were raised; I saw evidence that it is possible for eighty-year-olds to sharpen their memories to function the way they did when they were fifty-five. I saw people rewire their brains with their thoughts, to cure previously incurable obsessions and traumas. I spoke with Nobel laureates who were hotly debating how we must rethink our model of the brain now that we know it is ever changing.- Norman Doidge MD - taken from ( http://www.normandoidge.com/normandoidge/EXCERPT.html )"
This sound like an exciting technological advance for those that have never been able to see or have had a serious injury.
Thank you for such a positive response; So much negativism in previous posts... I think that this technology is brilliant, and like all new technologies or drugs still in the research and trial process, it will be a long time before it filters down to all, but it will.
Support this refuting of the Right Wing Republican Socialist Healthcare propaganda. Fundamentally in the UK, if you are sick you will get medical treatment for free, or next to free. There are a few area's where some treatments are withheld on the basis of cost/benefit, but compared to the USA where their are tens of millions with no Healthcare Insurance, this is pretty small beer. A state funded Healthcare system, properly managed and sensibly managed is far more beneficial to the wider population than a profuit driven insurance system. You also have the choice of going private if you want or have taken additional cover. Part of the issue with the UK NHS is it is a monolithic self-serving organisation, that has lost fiocus on what it is for - pubhlic heathcare - the debate on who provides the best cost effective care has been lost here. The NHS is in difficulty, not trouble - much caused by endless politically oriented re-organisations - when probably just leaving it alone would have been the most appropriate. Some people are also waking up to Prevention of Illness is better than fixing you when sick - costs less too - health screening, public health measures, immunisations etc... A no shit Sherlock moment, but at odd's with *both* State and profit driven self serving organisations ability to justify their existence.
FYI, the 1% is anyone making slightly over $308K/year. Information pulled from the IRS website. Death panels do exist in the UK. They don't call them that, but they do review medical cases. If the case exceeds a certain amount, based on expected remaining life expectancy/cost, they will not approve it. Don't be surprised if it doesn't happen here, regardless of if Obamacare gets shot down by SCOTUS. The reality is there is only so much money for healthcare and govt. sponsored healthcare will be forced to stay within those limits. As it is now, Medicare and Medicaid are draining ever increasing amounts of the federal budget. The projected deficits, from the Social Security website, for Medicare dwarf the current total federal deficit in the not too distant future. If you don't believe the UK has these panels, do the research using non-biased sites. I have many British friends who verify the information and they don't have a problem with it. Right now there is a growing movement over UK doctors withholding food and water from dying patients even though it can mask if the patient is improving. Look for searches on Britains National Institute for Clinical Excellence, the group that determines if something should be made available to the NHS based on cost effectiveness of procedure. While I'm not a fan of Wikipedia, it's a good starting point a lot of the time. There are links and information at the bottom of the page and http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/National_Institute_for_Health_and_Clinical_Excellence#Cost_effectiveness You can start with http://www.nice.org.uk, Other socialist medicine countries have their own versions. As the NICE site points out, there is only so much money for healthcare. Govt. paid for healthcare (Medicare/Medicaid) comes out of a limited amount of money. http://www.socialsecurity.gov/OACT/TRSUM/index.html You can dig through the above link to see how bad Medicare deficits are going to be, but realize they assume that Obamacare cuts to Medicare payments for providers decreases significantly. Something that has not happened since the passage of Obamacare. In fact, each time the cuts are supposed to kick in, President Obama and both Rs and Ds have stopped the cuts from becoming effective. Federal employee (not including Congress) medical insurance is a lot more expensive than non-federal plans. For instance, I pay 3x what I would for medical insurance at companies that have 2,000 - 3,000 employees, and my deductibles and co-pays are 10x higher; effectively paying 30x as much for the same benefits. Economies of scale should lead the millions of federal employees and retirees to have much lower premiums and out-of-pocket expenses. At least that's what the feds keep pushing and in reality, the number of insured should lead to lower premiums and out-of-pocket expenses. It does for other large insured pools.
Vk suddenly lost vision due to retinal detachment. Operation done on the eye but vision not restored in that eye. The nerve has been attached but it seems the nerve cell ay yhat point not acting. Can this be tried on this person.ery intresting and a noble projecg helping humanities. I have a person now aged 70. 20 years bac
But it does say in the article that the system is not intended for those who have never seen. There is a good reason for this, our neurological systems exhibit something called plasticity. That isnt an ability to flex or change shape, its an ability to change function. All brain tissues across all species show an ability to reassign parts of themselves to perform processing that would have been done by another - missing or disconnected - piece of brain. Some species of fish can grow back significant portions of any tissue that is damaged, but even human neural tissue regrows a little. If a person is born without sight it can be for many reasons. Eye malformation and occlusions could possibly be helped by this technology (which actually goes back to the 90s, this is actually the latest generation of Direct Neural Stimulation vision systems) but if someone were born with their optic nerves missing then there is a chance that their Visual Cortex is also missing - or has been reassigned to process information from the other senses. I have a rather unique perspective on this; I have synaesthesia (mixing of the senses) and dont have 'normal' sensation as a result. But what is normal, its normal to me... My daughter also has Dysgenesis of the Corpus Callosum - her brain has no normal method for the hemispheres to communicate so she cannot talk. She can think though, because her brain has found another way around the missing part, but it doesnt include what would have been her speech centres. The condition that affects us is actually well known, Rain Man's Dustin Hoffman studied with a man with that condition for the part, however he is not actually autistic... My senses are mixed because my brain doesnt use my Corpus Callosum properly. I have mine, I can see properly and speak, but I have Autistic Spectra and I'm considered gifted (I paint, draw, play several musical instruments, build and invent things, and am fluent in numerous programming languages) because my brain is a sponge that soaks up everything it experiences. I see and feel music and sound. Loud noises splash coloured blobs and streaks, and certain tones and timbres tickle and squeeze mainly in my chest and stomach, but music is a full body experience, playing my guitar leaves me breathless and shaking if i really get into it!
I have to agree with that, and if they also left US alone, and stopped the 'nanny state' nonsense things would be better too. Its funny how systems work best when left alone - those that dont are not systems, but are constructs which require constant maintenance. Its a universal rule...
Anyway, if you happen to come back and read this ... not sure if anyone realizes how amazing the condition is that you "suffer" from?? My first thoughts were that maybe people with varying degrees of those types of conditions are responsible for some of the world's best works of art, etc. I'm a musician so I can only imagine what it would be like if I could actually "see" the notes I am playing on my bass!!! Maybe someone like Jimi Hendrix made such amazing music because he could actually "taste" what others could only hear?? Such amazing concepts. Thanks for putting yourself out there with this post. Very rarely would I even think this(or admit to it). But, I would be thrilled to meet someone like you in person and see all the things that just come naturally to you that would astound an "average" guy like me.