Elon Musk’s Neuralink Looking to Treat Tinnitus

Discussion in 'Research News' started by Jack Straw, Jul 17, 2019.

    1. weab00
      Alone

      weab00 Member Benefactor

      Location:
      depression-ville
      Tinnitus Since:
      04/2019
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      noise, whiplash; 08/20 H
      No way human trials are starting this year. That was Musk's way of hyping the media, and he has since revised that goal. They don't even have FDA approval for human studies yet, so there's no way they're starting anything before the end of 2020. I give it till 2023.
       
      • Agree Agree x 1
    2. Christiaan
      Vegged out

      Christiaan Member Podcast Patron Benefactor

      Location:
      The Hague, the Netherlands
      Tinnitus Since:
      2016
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Bloody headphones in 2016,worsened in 2020
      Ah, ok. Thanks for the information. Didn't know FDA that breakthrough designation and FDA approval are different things. Anyway, apparently Neuralink still has the intention of accelerating the FDA procedure in hopes of starting the trials this year. I'm wondering how that plays out with COVID-19, but likely it will not happen this year.

      ''Interestingly, Neuralink is currently using this system as a research platform for testing on rodents and as a prototype for human trials. Human trials require FDA approval which they hope to achieve by the second quarter of 2020''

      Link:
      https://www.engineering.com/Hardware/ArticleID/19381/Neuralinks-Big-Announcement.aspx
       
    3. Christiaan
      Vegged out

      Christiaan Member Podcast Patron Benefactor

      Location:
      The Hague, the Netherlands
      Tinnitus Since:
      2016
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Bloody headphones in 2016,worsened in 2020
      Capture d’écran 2020-09-29 à 18.45.55.png
       
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    4. Christiaan
      Vegged out

      Christiaan Member Podcast Patron Benefactor

      Location:
      The Hague, the Netherlands
      Tinnitus Since:
      2016
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Bloody headphones in 2016,worsened in 2020
      Yes, it could be a huge game changer @Emgee . For major surgeries like DBS implementation, only 1/5 of severe tinnitus sufferer is willing to participate and another 1/5 is considering it, as it is incredibly invasive and the risks are for all of us to see (Smit et al, 2018). I think people would be less hesitant with Neuralink, as it seems way more safe and may very well lower the bar for some if proven effective. Hope you get the so needed relief if you get the chance to get in the trials.

      I, for one, would also happily change into a ''Borg'' if it ever comes to that + I won't have to invest a lot of time in cosplay for the Star Trek convention as an added bonus:borg: Enough reasons to go all the way!

      Link Smit study: https://cris.maastrichtuniversity.nl/en/publications/exploring-deep-brain-stimulation-as-a-treatment-for-tinnitus
       
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    5. weab00
      Alone

      weab00 Member Benefactor

      Location:
      depression-ville
      Tinnitus Since:
      04/2019
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      noise, whiplash; 08/20 H
      I would still take DBS in a second for both tinnitus and essential tremor... if I had the money for it.
       
    6. Christiaan
      Vegged out

      Christiaan Member Podcast Patron Benefactor

      Location:
      The Hague, the Netherlands
      Tinnitus Since:
      2016
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Bloody headphones in 2016,worsened in 2020
      For both these conditions? I would think DBS might indeed be better for you. Do you happen to live in California (San Fransisco)? Dr. Cheung will start a 2nd DBS trial in a year or two. It might save you some time and money.
       
    7. B18c1vtech

      B18c1vtech Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      2013
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Head Trauma?
      I agree that it probably won't treat tinnitus for quite some time. I still think there's a good chance it will beat other potential cures to the chase for the following reasons;

      - As for the evidence, the device has already been successfully implanted in several pigs, and the recent demo has already proven the device's ability to successfully read neural signals being sent to each limb, and accurately track the position of the pigs joints by these signals alone. If this isn't evidence of the implant being a good product, I'm not sure what is. Sure, it hasn't been used in humans, but Elon is extremely confident he is able to restore movement in paralyzed people. We already know how to do this. Essentially you're bypassing the severed nerve in the spine, and a secondary microcontroller would send neural shunts through each limb. This should all work in theory.

      - It's also worth noting, this technology is not entirely new. Cochlear implants for example work in a similar way, by sending signals to different parts of the auditory nerve. Even with Neuralink's new (and more sophisticated) way of implementing the technology, neural implants have been studied for over 15 years (if not longer), and we have plenty of scientific data to back up its potential.

      - Even if tinnitus does not stem from the brain, I still believe this implant will be a huge deal. Regardless of where the issue resides, it's still perceived by the brain. Signals are being sent from the auditory nerve to the brain. The implant could be threaded into the auditory cortex to study these neural signals in patients with tinnitus versus those without. Who knows, maybe it could even cancel out the signals, much like active noise cancelling (in a way). The device will not only be used to fix issues specifically with the brain, but likely in conjunction with other microcontroller implants throughout the body, to bypass severed nerves. Or in another example, Elon has expressed his interest in treating hearing loss, or even blindness. Both of these (in theory) could be solved by bypassing the ear entirely with a microphone, which then sends signals to the IC, which would be threaded into the auditory cortex. Blindness could (in theory) be solved by bypassing the optic nerve in a similar way using camera sensors.

      Obviously anything this far out should be taken with caution, but I have lots of faith in this technology, and there's plenty of reason to think it might work. I don't think Elon has given us any specific timelines, but he did mention in an interview with Joe Rogan, he predicts that in a decade, we will be able to non-verbally exchange communication with others using the implant. That's pretty damn ambitious, but again, Elon is no slouch, and is extremely confident in this technology.

      If Neuralink isn't the direct solution to a cure, it still has huge potential for researching what exactly causes tinnitus and will likely provide loads of very specific data leading us to a cure.
       
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    8. Joeseph Stope
      Innocent

      Joeseph Stope Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      1992
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      noise? infection? negative stress? other?
      Well, yes. The brain and mind are now the new frontier -- along with viruses neighbouring universes and cheap energy.

      With our aging populations and increasing dementia etc. there's a lot of saving and earning in this field.
       
      • Like Like x 1
    9. paul mclean

      paul mclean Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      2018
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      falling asleep with headphones in on loud
      It would annoy me healing tinnitus and not my hearing loss. Although silence would be good, I want to be able to communicate properly without interference more than anything.

      I am curious as to how Neuralink would cure tinnitus and could it even repair hearing loss?

      I guess it would send signals to the brain to start some kind of process.
       
      • Agree Agree x 1
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    10. B18c1vtech

      B18c1vtech Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      2013
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Head Trauma?
      Hearing loss, and even deafness is one of the main things they look to treat, which they talked about in their recent presentation (I would highly recommend you check it out).

      Essentially a microphone would send inputs to the auditory cortex, giving deaf people the ability to hear again, and possibly even better than normal hearing.
       
    11. tommyd87

      tommyd87 Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      1999
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      tmj music
      Something suggests that this will not be as effective as the hair cell medicine or similar would be.
       
    12. B18c1vtech

      B18c1vtech Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      2013
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Head Trauma?
      What is that?
       
    13. tommyd87

      tommyd87 Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      1999
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      tmj music
      If you are essentially employing what is a prosthetic device to deal with an issue like hearing, there is likely to be a pretty poor outcome compared to regenerative medicine. Therefore if there is successful regenerative medicine treatment, then that will simply not compare to the thing Musk is investigating and as a result Musk's treatment will not be taken up at all.
       
    14. B18c1vtech

      B18c1vtech Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      2013
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Head Trauma?
      Respectfully, you still haven't given any reasoning or evidence as to why it would have a poor outcome. You're just stating that it would likely have a poor outcome.

      The entire nervous system/brain works by sending/receiving electrical signals. The device is literally a computer that interfaces with the nervous system by doing just this. This is not just some crazy sci-fi idea that Musk slapped together in his sleep. The science is very real, and has plenty of research behind it. So far we know that the implant works. It has shown very strong evidence from the pig implants so far.
       
      • Agree Agree x 1
    15. tommyd87

      tommyd87 Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      1999
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      tmj music
      I thought that I had stated that the use of a prosthetic is the reason why we would not see as good performance outcomes with Musk's thing in comparison to the outcomes with regrowing synapses for example. Even with what I have seen sorted out with Musk's Neuralink and even with the possibility it is going to deliver benefits to people, there has been no indication if it is going to work better/equal with/worse than the regenerative medicine treatment that is being explored now.
       
    16. B18c1vtech

      B18c1vtech Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      2013
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Head Trauma?
      Just the fact that it's a prosthetic doesn't tell us anything about its potential. A microphone works pretty damn well, surely better than human ears. If we can just make the right connections within the auditory cortex, boom, problem solved. Not saying it will be easy, but we have very strong reasoning to believe this will work.

      I'm by no means doubting regenerative medicine. If it works, awesome. All I'm saying is that Neuralink has massive potential, and we have tons of scientific reason to back it up.
       
    17. frpp

      frpp Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      2010
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Tmj, Nihl, ototoxic drugs, nerve/ vascular issues
      I really hope this thing works better than the regular human auditory system. I scratch my earlier statements, the day this works is the day I'll fully ablate both garbage human ears, cochleas, eustachian tubes, middle ear bones, surrounding veins, nerves, muscles and all. Don't even care if I have to have 6 inch diameter holes in my head with 3 ft tall antennas sticking out.
       
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    18. BigNick

      BigNick Member Podcast Patron

      Tinnitus Since:
      11/2018
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Unknown
      I listened to Elon Musk on Joe Rogan. He says Neuralink will fix hearing. He didn't mention tinnitus but said any brain related condition. Tinnitus seems like small potatoes in the grand scheme of things he's aiming to fix. He said it would restore vision even if the optic nerve is damaged.
       
      • Optimistic Optimistic x 1
    19. FGG
      No Mood

      FGG Member Podcast Patron Benefactor Hall of Fame Advocate

      Tinnitus Since:
      01/2019
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Multi-factorial
      I think this is theoretically possible at *some* point but my worry is that they won't get the processing right for some time.

      My concern stems from the sound quality of auditory brainstem implants, which are abysmal compared to natural hearing (or even cochlear implants).

      The cochlea is not transmitting sound "as is" but is modulating it somewhat (pitch, volume, and timbre) before traveling the nerve and this needs to be studied more before a auditory brain prosthetic can fill in these gaps.

      Thus far, getting closer to the brain (with brainstem vs cochlear implants) has produced worse outcomes. Not to say this couldn't be adjusted with the right programs but it's no where near as simple as transmitting sound through the implant. Musk would have to hire more than just sound engineers and biologists to figure this problem out, he'd have to do extensive otoacoustic research.

      And maybe he is and he is just over simplifying the science for presentation but it would be nice for him to at least address the complexity.

      Unless he covered all that in the podcast. In which case I apologize for not having listened first.
       
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    20. tommyd87

      tommyd87 Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      1999
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      tmj music
      If it is the case that the treatments that are being worked on now are successful then I cannot see how Musk will be able to compete with those and produce better outcomes. Obviously the one that comes to mind is Retigabine for tinnitus. If the remade version works and doesn’t have side effects attached to it, then I cannot see the benefit in his Neuralink product at all.
       
    21. FGG
      No Mood

      FGG Member Podcast Patron Benefactor Hall of Fame Advocate

      Tinnitus Since:
      01/2019
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Multi-factorial
      Well, there are people that have their whole cochlea removed (e.g., certain cancers) and congenital conditions like agenesis of the auditory nerve so there would *always* be a need regardless but it's a question of market share.
       
      • Like Like x 1
    22. Kendra

      Kendra Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      08/2017
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      SSNHL/ Acoustic Trauma
      As well as people with a damaged auditory nerve.
       
    23. weab00
      Alone

      weab00 Member Benefactor

      Location:
      depression-ville
      Tinnitus Since:
      04/2019
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      noise, whiplash; 08/20 H
      Did Elon's presentation present any technology we don't already have? I didn't watch, but many people are saying that the tech he's showing off has been developed since the 70s. And that he's at heart an entrepreneur who's trying to hype up his company and garner interest from investors.

      So Elon's super optimistic claims of this being able to cure Alzheimer's, epilepsy, hearing loss, etc. should all be taken with a grain of salt in my opinion.
       
    24. tommyd87

      tommyd87 Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      1999
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      tmj music
      Completely correct. I can say that this is something I hadn’t considered.
       
    25. Rb86

      Rb86 Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      5/31/19
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Noise
      Elon would do a lot more good backing people and companies with the capability to put the right science behind the chase of curing tinnitus and whatever else is out there. It's called putting the aces in their places. I expect completely nothing to come from Elon regarding a real tinnitus cure. Too many irons in the fire.
       
    26. frpp

      frpp Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      2010
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Tmj, Nihl, ototoxic drugs, nerve/ vascular issues
      We couldn't get lucky enough for Elon to buy out Frequency Therapeutics and Otonomy and merge the two so that FX-322 could utilize Otonomy's hydrogel thus creating the best hair cell regenerating medicine solution possible and he could do it for a mere billion based off market cap. The investment is well worth it.
       
    27. BigNick

      BigNick Member Podcast Patron

      Tinnitus Since:
      11/2018
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Unknown
      His girlfriend has tinnitus, that's what makes me cautiously optimistic.
       
      • Agree Agree x 2
    28. Rb86

      Rb86 Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      5/31/19
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Noise
      I'm aware. Still don't expect anything from him. He's more worried about Tesla and going to Mars rather than helping people here and now.
       
      • Agree Agree x 1
    29. B18c1vtech

      B18c1vtech Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      2013
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Head Trauma?
      The implant successfully read precise limb movements in a pig's brain.
       
    30. B18c1vtech

      B18c1vtech Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      2013
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Head Trauma?
      I feel like people are underestimating the potential here. You are literally inserting a microcontroller into the brain, that we already know is capable of writing/reading data within the brain. Regardless of what it will treat, and when, this is already providing us a brand new platform for research. This IS a breakthrough. It's not a matter of if... this WILL provide researchers data we never thought possible. The brain really is the next frontier.
       

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