Experts say it’s actually possible

During an interview with TED’s Chris Anderson, Elon Musk remarked that his brain-machine interface startup, Neuralink, would solve brain and spinal injuries “for probably a decade.” Musk noted that the startup’s technology could even treat health issues like morbid obesity.

Experts have now said that while the idea may sound far-fetched and the science is yet to be proven, using brain implants to cure morbid obesity is actually a plausible idea. It may seem impossible given that Neuralink’s technology is still in development and human trials have yet to begin, but similar to Musk’s other ideas, such as landing the first stage of a rocket. orbiting on a drone in the middle of the ocean, the concept isn’t as far-fetched as it sounds.

In a statement to Initiated, Professor Andrew Jackson of Newcastle University, an expert in neural interfaces, noted that the Neuralink concepts are no more impossible than other claims about neurotechnology. “I don’t think that’s any more implausible than other claims about the potential of neurotechnology,” he said.

Jackson added that Neuralink brain implants are actually less invasive than other morbid obesity treatments. Some procedures designed to address morbid obesity today involve altering the form and function of a patient’s digestive tract. Such surgeries are usually expensive and recovery tends to be painful.

Neuralink aims to design and develop a fully integrated brain-computer interface (BCI) system, which could allow a computer or other digital device to communicate directly with the brain. Micron-scale wires in the neural implant are inserted into areas of the brain, allowing the implant to read and potentially stimulate brain activity.

While Elon Musk did not discuss specifics of how Neuralink’s technology could solve the problem of morbid obesity, Sadaf Farooqi, professor of metabolism and medicine at the University of Cambridge, noted that one particular region of the brain, the hypothalamus, is usually the one that causes an increase in appetite. If Neuralink can target specific areas of the brain, it would certainly be possible to solve problems such as morbid obesity.

“We and others have shown that in some people with severe obesity, it is the function of a particular region of the brain, the hypothalamus, that often leads to increased appetite. If you could find a way to target that particular region and even those particular neurons that stimulate appetite, then in theory a drug or technology that would do that could improve the lives of patients,” Farooqi said.

Neuralink has yet to receive approval for human testing, but the list of people willing to try the company’s technology is long. During his TED interview, Musk said the emails Neuralink receives from people are heartbreaking because many of them reveal stories of people who were cut at the height of their lives.

“The emails we receive at Neuralink are heartbreaking. I mean, they’ll just send us tragic (stories). You know, somebody was kind of in his prime and he had a motorcycle accident and somebody who’s 25 can’t even feed himself. It’s something we could work out,” Musk said.

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Elon Musk Says Neuralink Can Fight Morbid Obesity: Experts Say It’s Actually Possible

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