Monday, October 20, 2008
A somber item and reminder
I know we usually cover lighter topics and that the presentation at DNI is often on the more flippant side, but I think it is important to occasionally reassess the real, serious implications that come with any medical research. So, in the spirit of reminding everyone of one of the many reasons we do this work, I thought I would point out a couple video clips on CNN regarding a 23 year old man who, after becoming paralyzed during rugby practice, opted for suicide.
There are a number of topics to think about when considering stories like this one. While working for Phil Kennedy, the producers of Chicago Hope consulted him on BCI technology for locked-in patients. In the episode, after successfully restoring communication, the patient just said that they wanted to die.
To some extent, I like to think that just having the prospect of technologies like neural interfaces gives some hope to those that could benefit from the them. In fact, part of the reason that DNI is so light hearted is that I know prospective users will stumble on this site, and rather than ramble on about technical minutia and incremental developments, a little silliness and discussion of broader topics should (hopefully) break up the monotony of wading through numbers, error bars, and scientifically inept mass media reports.
If you keep up with the neuro shared items feed, I think one message regarding the field should be clear: Hang in there. We're on it!