Neurotechnology has been described by scientists as any technology that influences our understanding of the brain and aspects of its thought processes, consciousness and higher order of things in the brain. The science also includes any advancement in technologies that repair and improve brain functions. These technologies allow clinicians and researchers to clearly visualize the most sophisticated phenomenon in the world: the human brain. The field of Neurotechnology has been practiced for half a century now. However, the study has attained its most celebrated milestones over the past 20 years. The beginning of brain imaging revolutionized the field of Neurotechnology. Brain imaging allows researchers to monitor the brain’s activities as experiments are conducted.
Neurotechnology has served humanity immensely; even though, the majority of us do not fully appreciate its ubiquity. This field affects nearly all industrialized societies directly or indirectly. This has been achieved through drugs that help in sleeping, ADD, depression, stroke rehabilitation, among many others. As studies continue, advancements in the field will enable scientists to understand how the human brain influences personalities and lifestyles.
Currently, common place Neurotechnology attempts to achieve this through the use of games and programs like brain age and Fast forworld. These are designed for the purpose of improving the manner in which the brain functions. Today, modern science is capable of doing amazing things in regards to the study of the brain and its functions. Modern science can be able to image all aspects of the human brain and even control, to some degree, certain functions of the brain.
Thanks to these advancements, scientists and doctors are able to remedy over activation, depression, sleep deprivation and many other medical conditions. Therapeutically, Neurotechnology has been utilized in helping to improve brain functions, reduce episodes of epilepsy, and help patients with degenerative motor diseases like Alzheimer’s
Advancements in this field bring hope and promise to many patients who suffer from neurological problems. Advancements in the field of Neurotechnology will also allow researchers to understand the various mechanisms the mind and the conscience. Emerge from the brain. In this article, I will focus on some of the most revolutionary developments that have been made in the field of Neurotechnology.
20. Brain chips
This technology was developed by scientists from Ohio State University. Thanks to it, a 23 year old young man from Dublin was able to move his paralyzed hand using his thoughts. The scientists were able to fix a brain implant referred to as a neuro bridge. This is one of the few times a chip that has been implanted in a patient’s brain has been able to allow the patient to move his or her paralyzed limbs at will.The patients were able to perform a number of actions including picking up a spoon, clenching and unclenching their fists among other things.
19. Improved brain stimulation devices
Scientists from MIT, recently, used metamaterials to make a magnetic array that is able to provide deeper and finer brain stimulations. This is a great improvement as far as this field is concerned. The university recently announced the prototypes that could help improve the treatment of depression and help enhance the studies on the workings of the human brain. This breakthrough also adds to the promise of the potential metamaterials have when it comes to using them for designing medical devices.
18. Early diagnosis for Alzheimer’s disease
There are a number of therapies for early diagnosis and treatment of Alzheimer’s. These therapies have the potential of being able to detect and treat the disease long before its symptoms begin to manifest. One of these therapies is referred to as Alzheimer’s in a dish. The therapies include experimental drugs that are designed to reduce amyloid in the brain. The therapies will also include the use of blood tests to detect biomarkers. Given that there may be a rise in the number of people with the disease in the near future, early detection is good news. It will give doctors across the world a chance at halting and reversing the progression of the disease.
17. Stem cell therapy
Stem cell therapy will be utilized in replenishing and repairing the brain. The use of stem cell therapy for the treatment of degenerative motor diseases such as the Parkinson’s disease, multiple sclerosis and the Alzheimer’s disease a source of great hope to many scientists, researchers and patients across the globe. This is mainly because this diseases lack effective therapies.
16. Smart brain prosthetics
Scientists have been able to come up with wireless devices, currently under tests, that will be able to relieve post-traumatic stress disorder, depression, traumatic brain injury, and bipolar disorder. These devices are an indication of advancement in the field neural engineering. These devices operate by manipulating brain signals so as to successfully treat brain impairments and neurological diseases.
15. Intervention for psychiatric disorders
There are a number of therapies that show great promise when it comes to the treatment of severe psychiatric disorderssuch as severe resistant depression. Some of these therapies include medical gases, ketamine, and low-field magnetic stimulation. By using these therapies, doctors will be able to treat and rapidly stabilize some of the most common and serious psychiatric disorders.
14. Focused ultra sound
Focused ultra sound, Transcranial MRI –guided focused ultra sound coupled with microbubbles allows doctors to target tissues deep within the human body through sound waves. This will be more effective compared to the use of radiations and incisions. Focused Ultra sound has the potential of revolutionizing the treatment of conditions such as Alzheimer’s and brain cancer. This is due to its great potential for great precision and quicker patient recovery.
13. Brain Biomarkers
The creation of advanced diagnostic equipment has allowed scientists and researchers to identify biomarkers for a number of psychiatric and neurodegenerative disorders through the use of brain imaging patterns, spinal fluid, and blood. By identifying the biomarkers for these conditions, researchers and scientists will be in a better position to come up with more effective treatment and diagnostic approaches in the future.
12. Gene therapy
A number of clinical trials have shown great promise in the use of gene therapy for the treatment of neurological conditions. This has raised the possibilities of using gene therapy at the clinical level. Gene therapy can be utilized to replace or turn off disease causing genes for many central nervous system diseases such as the Parkinson’s disease, epilepsy and ALS.
11. Improved molecular interventions
Improved and sophisticated imaging systems such as MRI, PET, CT scans, fluoroscopy and ultra sound will at one point enable neurosurgeons to non-invasively find surgical targets and distinguish between benign and malignant. This technology will enable neurosurgeons to perform minimally invasive image guided surgeries on the human brain. This means that traditional brain surgery methods will be replaced by a number of molecular interventions. These will range from DNA modifications, alterations in brain circuitry to the introduction of modified viruses.
Treatments that are minimally invasive and non-pharmaceutical are being developed for the treatment of a wide range of psychiatric and neurological conditions. These treatments range from pulses of electricity to light pulses. Electroceuticals, which are low powered electrical devices are implanted or placed on the skin. This kind of treatment can be used to treat a number of diseases ranging from depression to Parkinson’s disease. Low –current transcranial direct current stimulation ay be used to treat chronic depression, pain and schizophrenia.
9. Check point inhibitors
They are also referred to as intravenous immunomodulators. Check point inhibitors are used for the purpose of blocking the action of certain types of proteins such as PD-1 that help brain cancer cells avoid being recognized by the body’s immune system. Check point inhibitors, therefore, facilitate the body’s response against brain cancer. Many people have suffered and lost their lives due to poor prognosis for patients with different kinds of brain cancers and glioblastoma. By using these immunotherapies, many lives will be saved in the future.
8. Neuroimaging for psychiatric and neurodegenerative conditions
Improved and advanced neuroimaging methods continue to expand based upon the existing knowledge about the functioning of the human brain and psychiatric and neurological conditions. Research initiatives such as the Brain initiative promise and Human Brain Project promise to give valuable insight into the cause s and advancement of neurological and psychiatric diseases. These initiatives also offer humanity the promise of effective, advanced and new treatment opportunities for these conditions.
7. Treatment and diagnosis of neurodegenerative conditions using microbiome
Scientists and researchers are conducting studies for the purpose of establishing a connection between gut microflora and neurological and psychiatric diseases. The researchers are, currently, studying a total of 3.3 million genes of microbiome towards these ends. If the studies are successful they may provide treatment for diseases such as the Parkinson’s disease and sclerosis.
6. Transcranial magnetic stimulation
This is basically direct magnetic stimulation to a person’s brain. The reasoning behind this is the fact that magnetic fields electric currents and are intrinsically related. When the brain is stimulated by magnetic pulses, it is likely to interfere with certain loci in the brain. This produces a predictable effect. This field of study is currently receiving a lot of attention due to the immense advantages it could offer.
5. Cranial surface measurements
Electroencephalography is a method of measuring brainwave activity in a noninvasive manner. This is done by placing a number of electrodes on a person’s scalp and head and measuring electric signals being produced. Normally, this is utilized when dealing with sleep. According to studies, each stage of sleep has characteristic wave patterns that are peculiar to it.
4. Neuro controlled bionic arms and legs
A neuro controlled bionic leg or arm allows the user to use the leg or arm by merely thinking. This technology will empower amputees with greater range of motion, more natural movements and the restoration of lost functions. If the technology is properly used it is possible to design an artificial leg or arm that can communicate with the brain effectively.
3. Sensors to monitor cerebral pressure
Researchers have been able to neural devices that regulate and measure the pressure in the brain. According to research, this devise can be utilized for long-term applications. This technology will be extremely beneficial to patients with hydrocephalus. This is a condition where fluid gathers in a person’s brain. This condition causes the patient to suffer a wide range of side effects including death and tunnel vision.
2. Memory-Restoring Implants
This is the first of its kind. This technology has been hailed for taking a novel approach towards the restoration of memory. The technology does not try to reverse memory loss, it improves the patient’s memory making abilities by’’ writing a code’’ into the memory system of the patient’s brain.
1. Brain computer interface
This is also referred to as a neural-control interface, brain-machine interface or mind-machine interface. This technology creates a direct communication pathway between an external device and an enhanced or wired brain. This differs from neuromodulation as it allows for bi-directional flow of information. This technology is used in researching, assisting, mapping, and repairing human cognitive functions or sensory motor functions.
The field of Neurotechnology is both controversial and fascinating. Over the years, a number of ethical issues have come up in regards to the advancement of this field. The ethical issues that come up as a result of this technology are in regards to what we human beings refer to as the self or the soul. The truth of the matter is that we are moving toward a future where the mechanical, artificial, human and organic will be forced to interact more than ever. This means invasive technologies will reach our brains. It is very normal for people to resist change. This is regardless of the fact that change is the only permanent thing in human life. By and large, Neurotechnology has many benefits to the human race especially in regards to the treatment and diagnosis of a number of chronic diseases that have plagued humanity for millennia. It is only by accepting the advancement of this technology will we open ourselves to endless possibilities.