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Maltese Professor discovers innovative way that reads what a patient who cannot speak, is thinking

Maltese Professor Christopher James is working on an innovative research which makes a great different in epilepsy patients’ lives, Parkinson’s Disease, paralysis or patients in a coma.

Prof. James spoke with TVM about his innovative way of communication with equipment which is stuck on a patient’s brain and generates currents that read what a patient who cannot speak, is thinking.

Christopher James left Malta over 20 years ago for the United Kingdom. As a Professor in Biomedical Engineering and director of the BioMedical Institute in Warwick University he specializes on innovative technology which is expected to revolutionize the medical field.

Through Biomedical Engineering, Prof James is developing an innovative communication to be used in situations where a person is paralyzed or in an almost coma situation.

“There are diseases where a person has a disability in a way that he/she cannot speak, not even moving muscles in the face. This person appears to be in a coma; however in fact, the inside of the brain is completely working…therefore we use a type of technology with which that person can manage, for example, to move a hand and currents that come out of the brain, we measure them and the computer is aware that this person is thinking of going to the right”.

Prof. James told TVM that the same studies are evaluating how this technology may also assist persons who suffer from a particular condition as a result of epilepsy or Parkinson’s.

“There are various types of diseases, such as Parkinson’s Disease, in which such an equipment may be used to assist the patient…in Parkinson you have the central tremor, this technology may stop an individual to stop this type of tremor. With this technology we can also stop seizures in epilepsy cases and the patient does not realize that he was about to have a seizure”.

Asked when it is foreseen that this research moves on to practice from theory, Professor James said that a multi-million investment is needed to develop a number of equipments so that the work he did for many years will be beneficial to patients.