In a recent tweet Elon Musk’s, Neuralink, announced that over 20 of its brain implants had passed their five-year accelerated aging benchmark. This announcement comes just after Neuralink received FDA approval for in-human clinical trials.  

Musk co-founded Neuralink in 2016 to develop an implantable brain device that allows users to control a computer via their thoughts.

Neuralink’s implant, named Link, promises to provide autonomy to patients with aphasia, paralysis, and a myriad of degenerative diseases.  

Whilst Neuralink is part of the technology industry, it is not considered part of the medical community. As James Spencer from GlobalData clarifies, the “tech industry is infamous for upgrades and replacements” unlike traditional medical devices designed to “last forever.” 

So far, the Link has only passed a five year benchmark in accelerated aging, which is far from the proposed lifelong usage it could have. 

Professor of active implantable devices at King’s College London, Anne Vanhoestenberghe, said that although there are already a few instances of brain implants already being used by patients, there are currently “no implantable recording devices that are functionally reliable long-term in humans.”

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According to Vanhoestenberghe, there is still a long way to go before implantable brain devices can be used chronically without complications. 

Neuralink must appropriately consider how it will holistically inform patients of the risks and impacts of a lifelong medical device before it announces its first human trials.