Elon Musk’s Neuralink to start human trials; Want to apply to get a brain chip implant? Here is how to

Neuralink is set to commence human trials soon and is currently recruiting volunteers for the same. Know the conditions and how you can register for it.

| Updated on: Nov 10 2023, 12:37 IST
Neuralink’s human trials will begin soon. Know all about it. (Unsplash)
Neuralink’s human trials will begin soon. Know all about it. (Unsplash)

Elon Musk's Neuralink is getting ready to ‘mess' with people's heads - literally! The neurotechnology company received clearance from the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) a few months ago and began recruiting volunteers for a groundbreaking procedure in September. However, this also coincided with a troublesome Wired report which raised questions over the nature of the death of Neuralink's test monkeys. Amidst the controversy, the company has reportedly received interest from thousands of applicants. Here's all about the procedure.

About the Neuralink experiment

For a study, called ‘PRIME Study', which is expected to last 6 years, the company is recruiting test subjects. As per reports, Neuralink is building a 4mm-square chipset, called N1, which is meant to be implanted into the inside of the skull. The chip has extremely thin wires attached to it that reach into the brain. The wires can receive and detect brain signals that are relayed between neurons, and they can generate their own impulse as well, which imitates that of the neurons. According to the company, the N1 chip can connect with 1000 different brain cells. A patient can have up to 10 chips implanted, the company claims.

These brain-computer interfaces (BCI) are claimed by Neuralink to help patients with neurological disorders that are caused by the inability of the brain to connect to the nerves of a body part. These can be limbs, ears, eyes, tongue, and more. This can also help people suffering from conditions such as epilepsy, Parkinson's disease, paraplegia, and quadriplegia.

Who all are eligible?

To qualify for the study, there is a condition. Neuralink's patient registry application states that the volunteers must suffer from one of the following conditions: quadriplegia, paraplegia, visual impairment or blindness, aphasia or the inability to speak, hearing impairment or deafness, and/or major limb amputation (affecting above or below the elbow and/or above or below the knee).

Patients must also be legal adults, meaning at least 18 years old and the age of majority in their state. They should also be a US citizen or a permanent resident.

How to register for it?

To apply for the Neuralink study, participants must fill out a consent form and allow their health providers to share their medical records, including psychiatric and medication records, if any. It may also require details such as CT scans and MRI scans of the head, while volunteers can choose to share their HIV Test Results, Drug/Alcohol Abuse Treatment Records, and Genetic Testing Information.

They must also fill out a questionnaire. “The questionnaire portion of the Patient Registry application is meant to allow us to collect health and lifestyle information about you, including information about your general health (such as current medical conditions, mood states, family history, medications, alcohol and substance use, height, weight, etc.) and medical treatments and care you currently receive”, the application states.

Neuralink states that volunteers will not be paid to take part in the Patient Registry or to complete the Patient Registry application.

Can you back out?

Neuralink states that patients have the right to refuse to answer any question of the Patient Registry questionnaire. Moreover, they can withdraw their consent at any time. After such a request, Neuralink stop further use and collection of the data and will delete the medical records within 90 days of the request.

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First Published Date: 10 Nov, 12:37 IST