FDA allows Neuralink to implant 2nd patient with brain chip

FILE-Neuralink is displayed on a cell phone with chip brain seen on screen. (Photo illustration by Jonathan Raa/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

The Food and Drug Administration has approved Neuralink to implant its brain chip into a second patient.

This news comes after the organization adjusted an electrical issue that lowered the device's performance in the first human test subject. 

According to the Wall Street Journal, the modifications to the device, which is the size of a large coin, include embedding some of its ultrathin wires deeper into the brain.

RELATED: Neuralink's 1st human patient can control mouse with thoughts, Elon Musk says

Neuralink hopes its device can help treat neurological disorders.  

Who was the first Neuralink patient?

Noland Arbaugh was the first patient to have a chip implanted into his brain in January 2024. 

Arbaugh, a quadriplegic with no movement below his shoulders for the past eight years, used the Neuralink implant to control a cursor on a computer screen with only his thoughts. 

He could also communicate with friends, play games, and interact in ways that hadn’t seemed possible after his accident, the Wall Street Journal reported. 

Months after his surgery, Arbaugh noticed that the brain chip was not working properly as most of the threads embedded in his brain came loose, and could no longer read electrical signals required to translate his thoughts into cursor movements. 

Neuralink, owned by Elon Musk, is one of many groups working on linking the nervous system to computers – efforts aimed at helping treat brain disorders, overcoming brain injuries, and other applications.

In May 2023, Neuralink received approval from the FDA to proceed with human trials for brain implants, and last year the company announced that it was seeking volunteers, saying the ideal candidate is a quadriplegic adult under age 40. 

This story was reported from Washington, D.C.