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Texas Student´s Hairstyle Battle Tests CROWN Act at Barbers Hill High
Kyla Hooshmand, Editor in Chief • February 29, 2024

Darryl George, an 18-year-old junior at Barbers Hill High School, has spent much of his school year isolated due to in-school suspension for...

Electrical brain implants can help people with brain injuries.

For people that have traumatic brain injuries, cognitive functions like memory loss, and mood disorder can become very difficult. But for these problems, there is no such therapy. Now, in a small study of individuals who have suffered moderate to severe brain injury, five patients scored better on a test of attention and information processing after having electrodes surgically implanted into the thalamus, an early stop for information coming in through the senses The study participants and their families also reported improvements in their symptoms and daily lives after deep brain stimulation. 

 

The results suggest that direct stimulation of the thalamus might be used to treat cognitive impairment caused by traumatic brain injuries. In the United States, more than 5 million people live with the effects of moderate to severe brain injuries, often caused by collisions such as falls and car crashes.

 

In deep brain stimulation, electrodes are implanted into the brain and powered by a pacemaker to stimulate targeted brain regions electrically. The technique has long been used successfully to treat other conditions, for instance, to quiet the tremors caused by Parkinson’s disease or the seizures of epilepsy. To see if the same approach could restore cognitive function in individuals with traumatic brain injuries, Schiff and colleagues recruited six patients to undergo surgery and have the electrical devices implanted. 

 

The researchers decided to target the central lateral nucleus of the thalamus, a brain region responsible for relaying information to the brain’s prefrontal and frontal cortexes, which handle executive function. After identifying the target areas in each person’s brain and implanting the electrodes, the researchers programmed the devices for a 12-hour on/off cycle. They optimized them for each patient over two weeks. One patient developed a scalp infection and had the device removed. 

 

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