Thursday, January 31, 2008

Implant Sends Signals Right to the Brain

An implant that bypasses damaged nerves and forms a direct pathway to the brainstem is making it possible for some people to avoid total hearing loss. A tiny microphone on the ear sends the sounds to the processor and then to the brain. The surgery involves placing an auditory brain implant and small electrodes in patients who need removal noncancerous tumors associated with a particular disorder. The condition is called neurofibromastosis type II. If they tumors aren’t removed they may lead to complete hearing loss. So far, about 500 people have received the implants. One of the few surgeons who can implant the devices in the US is Dr. Bradley Welling at the Ohio State University Medical Center.

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