Spanish scientists have revolutionized medicine with a brain transplant, triggering the vision of a blind woman who was allowed to “see” for the first time in 16 years.
The surgeon allowed the patient to see the light and patterns again, directing the light in front of them using a “synthetic retina” attached to a pair of glasses. Light processing occurred in electrical signals. The signals are then sent to an array of tiny electrodes fitted to the patient’s brain, allowing the user to “see” the light captured by the glasses.
The system was tested on a 57-year-old woman who had not seen anything for 16 years and at the time she was completely blind.
The advanced implant helped the woman to identify the patterns and images detected by the artificial retina.
“We continued to receive high-quality recordings from visually impaired neurons and the stimulus parameters remained stable over time,” the scientists wrote in a research paper published in The Journal of Clinical Investigation.
According to the scientist, the patient was able to identify “certain characters” and “boundaries of an object”.
This process is said to be completely safe. The team said that the area of the brain surrounding the visual cortex would not be affected because the electrodes were attached to the patient’s brain.
The artificial retina does not reflect non-target neurons. This means that the system is safe to use and not as annoying as brain implants.
This system requires a relatively low level of electrical activity compared to other neural sequences of implants.
Six months later the artificial retina was removed from the woman’s brain.
Although more research is needed before the technology can be widely used, the initial indications are promising.
This could be a major improvement in low vision correction, which is an improvement in this field.
But this is not the first time a blind patient has been treated with a revolutionary technique to restore vision.
In May 2021, a partially blind man regained his sight after a gene therapy that used pulses of light to control the activity of neurons.
This is the first successful demonstration of what is known as ophthalmic therapy in humans. This method involves the use of ophthalmogenics as a medical treatment, which involves the conversion of electrical signals into neurons in a fire when exposed to wavelengths of light.
This gives neuroscientists the ability to accurately control neural signals in the brain and elsewhere.
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