Don’t charge your brain implant during thunderstorms, docs warn after incident


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Last year, futurist Elon Musk announced a new project: a medical research company called Neuralink set to develop a new generation of brain implant devices—which may, among other things, help us in the coming AI apocalypse. But evil robots aside, the devices first have to face a more nefarious foe: lightning.

Doctors in Slovenia report that a 66-year-old woman with an existing brain implant experienced a close call with the device after lightning struck her apartment building. The strike ruined the woman’s television and air conditioning unit and managed to switch off her brain implant. Luckily, the woman and her device were not otherwise harmed.

But in a report published this week in the Journal of Neurosurgery, the doctors say the situation could have easily been much worse, possibly zapping her brain or destroying her implant. They call for more precautions, such as surge protectors, as well as better awareness of the risks of lightning strikes with such implants—or deep brain stimulation (DBS) devices.

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