Locked-In Patients Tell Doctors They Are ‘Happy’ After Computer Reads Thoughts

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(The Telegraph) – Locked-in patients trapped inside their paralysed bodies have told doctors they are ‘happy’ using an astonishing new brain computer interface which deciphers their thoughts. In a groundbreaking experiment, four people who were incapable of even moving their eyes, were able to respond with ‘yes’ or ‘no’ answers to spoken questions.

On seven out of 10 occasions the patients said they were happy despite their utterly debilitating condition which means they require round the clock care for all their basic needs. In one case, a family requested that the researchers ask one of the participants whether he would agree for his daughter to marry her boyfriend ‘Mario’. The answer was “No” nine times out of ten.

“The striking results overturn my own theory that people with complete locked-in syndrome are not capable of communication,” said Professor Niels Birbaumer, a neuroscientist at the Wyss Center for Bio and Neuroengineering in Geneva, Switzerland. CONTINUE