Fri, 01 Dec 2023

FREMONT, California: This week, brain-chip startup Neuralink, owned by billionaire Tesla CEO Elon Musk, said an independent review board granted it approval to begin recruiting volunteers for the first human trial of its brain implant for paralysis patients.

The company added that people with paralysis due to cervical spinal cord injury or amyotrophic lateral sclerosis could qualify for the six-year trial.

However, it did not confirm how many participants would take part.

Neuralink said its initial goal is to enable people to control a computer cursor or keyboard using their thoughts alone.

The company began negotiating for fewer patients after the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) raised safety concerns.

Musk has said that Neuralink will facilitate speedy surgical insertions of its chip devices to treat conditions such as obesity, autism, depression, and schizophrenia.

In May, when it was already under federal scrutiny for its handling of animal testing, the company said it had received clearance from the FDA for its first-in-human clinical trial.

However, it would still potentially take more than a decade for the startup to secure commercial use clearance for its BCI device, even if they were proven to be safe for human use.

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