The Man with the Bionic Brain.The Man with the Bionic Brain
In 2001, in the melee of a Fourth of July Fourth of July, Independence Day, or July Fourth, U.S. holiday, commemorating the adoption of the Declaration of Independence. Celebration of it began during the American Revolution. beach brawl brawl
1. A noisy quarrel or fight.
2. A loud party.
3. A loud, roaring noise.
intr.v. brawled, brawl·ing, brawls
1. To quarrel or fight noisily.
2. , someone plunged a hunting knife deep into Matt Nagle's neck as the former football player tried to pull people off his friends. Nagle survived, but the knife severed his spinal cord spinal cord, the part of the nervous system occupying the hollow interior (vertebral canal) of the series of vertebrae that form the spinal column, technically known as the vertebral column. , paralyzing him below the neck.
Physician and researcher Mukand recounts Nagle's journey to becoming the first person with an implanted brain device, called BrainGate, that allowed him to control a computer cursor, open e-mails and change the TV channel with his thoughts alone. The book reads like a doctor's tell-all, in which Mukand confesses his deepest worries and fiercest hopes for Nagle and other paralyzed par·a·lyze
tr.v. par·a·lyzed, par·a·lyz·ing, par·a·lyz·es
1. To affect with paralysis; cause to be paralytic.
2. To make unable to move or act: paralyzed by fear. people. The climax comes after Nagle's surgery, when researchers realize that the electrical signals coming from the brain are gibberish. Weeks later, tweaks and a tightened connection finally do the trick, and neural data pour in. "We could hear his brain," Mukand writes.
Through interviews with Nagle and his family and friends, Mukand captures Nagle's complexity--undeniably charismatic, prone to deep depressions, intensely driven, sharp-tempered and above all, faithful that he would recover.
He didn't. Nagle died in 2007 from what doctors think were complications of an infection. But research continues. Next-generation BrainGate systems seem promising (SN: 6/16/12, p. 5), as do other approaches (SN: 6/30/12, p. 5). Data from Nagle were tremendously valuable, Mukand writes. And in his last heroic move, Nagle donated his organs to those in need.--Laura Sanders Chicago Review, 2012, 353 p., $26.95