We can hack computers; why can’t we hack into the nervous system to help those with nerve damage?
My friend Allen was in a horrible accident a decade ago that left him with serious nervous system impairments that affected his life immeasurably. He has learned to live with this disability after his neck was broken in a car accident that flipped his SUV over multiple times while coming back from family vacation in Florida.
Christopher Reeve set up a foundation to help fund research to help people who had serious injury to their spines that affected their quality of life. Some of that technology is now becoming research which is being used to hack into our nervous systems to change the way things work.
What if you had another condition such as blood pressure problems or inflammatory conditions that were treated with drugs that were expensive and laden with side effects that could be effectively be better treated with an electronic impulse in the brain?
The NY Times explores this idea
Can the Nervous System Be Hacked?
One morning in May 1998, Kevin Tracey converted a room in his lab at the Feinstein Institute for Medical Research in Manhasset, N.Y., into a makeshift operating theater and then prepped his patient — a rat — for surgery. A neurosurgeon, and also Feinstein Institute’s president, Tracey had spent more than a decade searching for a link between nerves and the immune system. His work led him to hypothesize that stimulating the vagus nerve with electricity would alleviate harmful inflammation. “The vagus nerve is behind the artery where you feel your pulse,” he told me recently, pressing his right index finger to his neck.
The vagus nerve and its branches conduct nerve impulses — called action potentials — to every major organ. But communication between nerves and the immune system was considered
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