Home » tech stuff » Finally, a good excuse for wearing headphones all day.

Finally, a good excuse for wearing headphones all day.

It’s the new craze for everyone to be wandering around living life with headphones/earbuds on. And now someone actually has a logical reason for doing it beyond simply wanting to tune the world out–which is absolutely valid, but you probably won’t get much done that way.

Before he got his new brain implant, 13-year-old Oran Knowlson’s whole life revolved around his seizures.

The British boy has a rare, medicine-resistant form of epilepsy that caused him to have hundreds of seizures a day,  putting him at constant risk of injury, and making it impossible to participate in the same activities as other kids his age.

But since his surgery at Great Ormond Street Hospital For Children in London eight months ago, Oran has seen his seizures reduced by 80 per cent, according to his surgeon. As a result, he’s taken up some new hobbies — including horseback riding.

“It’s absolutely lovely,” Dr. Martin Tisdall, the pediatric neurosurgeon who led the surgery, told As It Happens host Nil Koksal. 

“The family are really putting their trust and their faith in you, and so it’s incredibly pleasing to see the positive benefits it’s had on his quality of life.” 

The device, which sends electrical pulses to the brain to block seizures, is the first of its kind to be embedded directly into the brain, and Oran is the first patient in the world to have one implanted, as part of a clinical trial in the U.K.

This type of electrical stimulation has been used to treat epilepsy patients before, and usually involves placing a device inside the chest that needs to be replaced every few years. But Oran’s implant is nestled under his skull, and he can charge it from the comfort of home, just by wearing a special pair of headphones. 

If it continues to work well with Oran and in subsequent trials, doctors say it could be used more widely to help children with medicine-resident epilepsy, without forcing them to undergo repeated surgeries all their lives.

I am absolutely in love with developments like this. Give the kid a healthy, medically beneficial reason to be doing the thing he’s going to end up doing anyway. And hey, if it results in even one fewer seizure for the kid, even better.

I’ve had friends who’ve dealt with seizures all their lives. It’s the exact opposite of fun, and that’s putting it nicely–it’s not fun for the person seizing, and it’s not fun for the person or people supporting. I love to see tech that solves an honest to goodness practical problem. And hey, if the headphones look cool, he’ll fit in just fine if he needs to give his implant a charge while he’s on the bus/train. Everybody wins.

Things like this are why I have such the interest in technology that I do. I mean, don’t get me wrong, computers are fun, the smart phone has its place, and AI is… well… we’ll learn to work with it. But this, right here, this is technological progress at its best. For all the geek skills I have, and all the time I spent deep diving into all of the things, I kind of hope my next job has me working with something like this. Of course I’ll probably end up doing a shitty IT job for nearly minimum wage again instead, but a guy can dream and this is mine.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

recent Posts

Recent Comments