Previously, deep brain stimulation, which carries significant risk, as electrodes are implanted inside thalamus, was the only way to attempt to achieve this.
The thalamus was targeted with a low-intensity focused ultrasound, creating a sphere of acoustic energy, aimed at different brain regions to excite tissue. The low-energy device was activated next to the patient’s head for 30 seconds, 10 times, in 10 minutes.
Before the procedure, the patient showed minimal signs of being conscious and of understanding speech. He could perform limited movements when asked.
His responses grew measurably the day after the treatment. After 3 days, he regained full consciousness and full language comprehension. He was able to communicate by nodding his head “yes” or shaking his head “no.” He made a fist-bump gesture to say goodbye to a doctor.
Professor Paul Vespa will test the procedure on several patients at the David Geffen School of Medicine this fall.
Wearable Tech + Digital Health + NeuroTech Silicon Valley – February 7-8 @ Stanford University – Featuring: Vinod Khosla – Tom Insel – Zhenan Bao – Phillip Alvelda – Nathan Intrator – John Rogers – Mary Lou Jepsen – Vivek Wadhwa – Miguel Nicolelis