Brain Implants With The Potential To Restore Vision To The Blind

This story is part 5 of an occasional series on the current progression in Regenerative Medicine. In 1999, I defined regenerative medicine as the collection of interventions that restore to normal function tissues and organs that have been damaged by disease, injured by trauma, or worn by time. I include a full spectrum of chemical, gene, and protein-based medicines, cell-based therapies, and biomechanical interventions that achieve that goal.

Thanks to the work of scientists from the University Miguel Hernández, we are now further along the way to restoring vision for the blind. In October, Fernández et al. successfully implanted an array of microelectrodes into the visual cortex of a fifty-seven-year-old woman who has been fully blind for the past sixteen years. After training, the woman could visualize several complex patterns and identify some letters. This demonstrated the potential of array microelectrodes for restoring some form of rudimentary vision.

The ability to restore vision is one of the holy grails of regenerative medicine. I have previously written about the potential of optogenetics in this field, but this study presents real progress for an approach using direct electrical stimulation in the brain instead.

Read the full article on Forbes.

© William A. Haseltine, PhD. All Rights Reserved.