A doctor in Slovenia has reported a case with a lesson you may want to remember. If you are finished with a brain implant at some point below the road, including the kind that will allow me to control computers with your mind, make sure you do not try to charge it during a storm.
According to the report, published earlier this month and found by Ars Technica, a 66-year-old brain implant patient was in her apartment when she was hit by lightning. The strike was strong enough to "burn and destroy" electrical appliances in the apartment, including TV and air conditioning.
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It was also strong enough to trigger a failure that closed the implant of the woman's brain, although it was not connected to the house wiring. The patient was treated for acoustic neck convulsions using a procedure called Deep Brain Stimulation or DBS. It is an established treatment that has been used for Parkinson's disease for more than two decades and was approved for the treatment of a severe obsessive-compulsive disorder in 2009. DBS treatment is based on an implant called a neurotransmitter, in this case a Medtronic unit, electrical pulses on the electrodes implanted in the brain.
The patient did not find anything wrong until an hour after the storm, when her spasms returned. She was able to get her implant reactivated and the tremors back behind under control quickly, and no damage to the implant was found.
But this result, according to the doctor, could have been much worse if the implant was connected to recharge during the lightning strike. Although the report does not speculate on how badly a patient could be harmed, it refers to "severe stroke" in cases where implant patients are exposed to strong electromagnetic fields. Electrical implants can be turned off or damaged when they come close to generators, arc welders, or even medical equipment such as MRI.
A medical neurostimulator is not exactly analogous to the type of brain implants that entrepreneurs want to develop, including Elon Musk. In fact, simple brain-computer interfaces have already been shown to work without implantation at all. But more sensitive versions of technology will probably include implants, so if you decide to literally curl your brain, be careful when you plug it in.