Brain Pacemaker Awakens the Near Vegetative

A new device could add hope to those who live in semi-consciousness from brain injury. Like a pacemaker, this device manufactured by Medtronic Inc. is embedded under the skin near the chest. But its two electrodes journey to the brain instead of the heart. Buried into the area controlling consciousness, the electrodes can jump-start patients to a more awake state, lending support to the damaged nerves in the area.

One subject went from following voices with his eyes to speaking 16 words and drinking on his own. Eleven more patients will be tested in the pilot study, getting implanted with gadgets that, while sporting a decent battery life, have no MP3 or MP4 support. [extremetech (reuters) via ubergizmo]