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Brown to host conference on advances in neurotechnology
Date:5/30/2008

PROVIDENCE, R.I. [Brown University] Imagine being paralyzed, unable to move your arms or to walk again. An estimated four to five million Americans suffer from this debilitating situation. Or imagine being mostly blind, or mostly deaf. Conservatively, tens of millions of Americans are affected by these infirmities.

Now imagine being able to stand up and walk, to move your hands or arms enough to tap out an e-mail on a computer, or to see and hear again. These advances are no longer in the realm of imagination. They are real-life examples of bionic-like repairs scientists can make to the human body.

Like mechanics peering under a car's hood, researchers in the emerging field of neurotechnology are learning more about how the human central nervous system works. They understand more clearly how the brain sends signals that cause muscles to twitch and arms and legs to move. They are peering more intently into the inner workings of the eye and ear and are developing devices that can replicate broadly how they work.

The technologies they have created the implants, the probes, the electrical stimulators are benefiting real people now. Some of those people, and the scientists who helped them, will tell their stories at the Frontiers of Healthcare Conference, to be held June 9 from 8:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. at the Salomon Center for Teaching, located on the Brown University campus. The Division of Biology and Medicine at Brown University and Rep. Patrick J. Kennedy (D-RI) sponsor the conference, now in its fifth year. This year's theme is "Neurotechnology: From the Lab to Everyday Life." The $25 conference fee includes lunch.

There also will be a short press conference featuring Kennedy, the scientists and the individuals who have benefited from neurotechnology.

"Neurotechnology isn't science fiction it's here today," says John Donoghue, professor of neuroscience and engineering and director of the Brown Institute for
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Contact: Richard Lewis
richard_lewis@brown.edu
401-863-3766
Brown University
Source:Eurekalert  

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