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Claim: Elon Musk’s medical device company Neuralink already started human trials for its brain implants.
Why we fact-checked this: The Facebook video containing the claim has 2,900 reactions, 1,600 comments, and 173,000 views as of writing.
No human trial yet: Neuralink said in a tweet that recruitment for the trial has not yet opened, telling its Twitter followers that more details would be available soon. In the same tweet, the company announced that the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) had already approved starting human clinical trials for its brain implant device.
We are excited to share that we have received the FDA’s approval to launch our first-in-human clinical study!— Neuralink (@neuralink) May 25, 2023
This is the result of incredible work by the Neuralink team in close collaboration with the FDA and represents an important first step that will one day allow our…
The US FDA said in a statement that it had cleared Neuralink to “use its brain implant and surgical robot for trials on patients” but gave no further details.
Safety concerns: Before starting human trials, the US FDA pointed out several key safety concerns that Neuralink needs to address:
- issues involving the lithium battery of the device
- possibility of the implant’s wires migrating within the brain
- challenge of safely extracting the device without damaging brain tissue
Musk’s vision: Musk envisions the brain implants curing a range of conditions, including obesity, autism, depression, and schizophrenia. The device is also planned to enable Web browsing and telepathy.
The tech billionaire projected Neuralink starting human trials on four occasions already since 2019. However, the company sought FDA approval only in early 2022, and the agency rejected the application, Reuters reported in March.
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– Lorenz Pasion/Rappler.com
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