The FDA denied Elon Musk’s request to test the Neuralink brain implant in humans due to “dozens of risks” that need to be addressed before experimentation can begin (see Neuralink: Clinical Trials Announced in 2022).
Questions raised include the possibility that tiny implant wires anchored in the head migrate to other areas of the brain. Tests on pigs have not been successful. However, the migration of these strands “will cause brain inflammation, alter certain functions, and rupture blood vessels,” according to an analysis by Victor Krauthamer, a former FDA official.
The FDA is also concerned about a lithium battery that can be recharged remotely but could damage brain tissue if it fails. Removing the implant can lead to brain damage.
There have been several investigations into Neuralink, most recently by the US Department of Transportation. Investigation following allegations by the Physicians’ Committee for Responsible Medicine (PCRM) that the company “unsafely packaged and moved implants removed from monkey brains that could be infected”. In particular, “careless experimentation” on animals has been criticized (see Neuralink: Animal Cruelty Complaint and Investigation).
Source: Daily Mail (02/03/2023) Stock Photo – iStock