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Neuralink patient registry now open to UK citizens after the U.S. and Canada

Image of a hand holding Neuralink implant

Neurotechnology company Neuralink announced that it has opened its patient registry in a third country. After the U.S. and Canada, UK citizens can now apply to learn whether they may qualify for future Neuralink clinical investigations in the United Kingdom.

The company founded by Elon Musk is looking for patients older than 18 years who suffer from quadriplegia, paraplegia, vision loss, hearing loss, the inability to speak, or major limb amputation affecting above or below the elbow, and above or below the knee.

Unfortunately, Neuralink is currently not conducting any clinical investigations in the UK. The registry opens as a database for future studies for which the applicants could be considered.

Since January, the company runs only its very first clinical trial called PRIME (Precise Robotically Implanted Brain-Computer Interface). It involves Noland Arbaugh, Neuralink’s first patient suffering from quadriplegia – a dysfunction or loss of motor and sensory function in the cervical area of the spinal cord, typically resulting in the impairment of all four limbs.

This study involves placing a small, cosmetically invisible implant in a part of the brain that plans movements. The device is designed to interpret a person’s neural activity, so they can operate a computer or smartphone by simply intending to move a cursor.

The study aims to evaluate the safety of the Link implant and Neuralink’s surgical robot R1 and assess the initial functionality of BCI (brain-computer interface) for enabling people with quadriplegia to control external devices with their thoughts.

Arbaugh was happy about improving his life thanks to the brain-computer interface; however, the Wall Street Journal reported that 85% of the 64 very thin threads containing electrodes – originally connected directly to the brain – became displaced, lowering the performance of the brain chip as a result.

Neuralink believes that inserting the threads deeper into the brain will solve the issue, and it already plans to insert Link into the brain of another patient – a plan already approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) overseeing the clinical trial.

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