Cyberkinetics initiates brain device study in Warwick

FOXBORO, Mass. – Cyberkinetics Inc. announced that it has initiated a pilot study of its BrainGate Neural Interface System in Warwick. The company’s first product is designed to give severely paralyzed patients a long-term, direct brain-computer interface for the purpose of communication and control of a computer.

The first clinical site to be initiated by Cyberkinetics is the Sargent Rehabilitation Center in Warwick. Dr. Jon Mukand, who is on the faculty of Brown University, is the principal investigator. The surgery to implant the sensor and pedestal portions of the BrainGate device will be conducted at Rhode Island Hospital.

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Cyberkinetics received regulatory clearance to conduct the study from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration earlier this year and is hoping the study will prove that quadriplegic patients can control a computer cursor with their thoughts. The feasibility study will enroll up to five patients, each will undergo surgery in which the sensor portion of the BrainGate neural interface will be implanted on the portion of the brain responsible for movement. Cyberkinetics anticipates reporting initial results in late 2004.



Rhode Island appears in wireless tax proposals study


WASHINGTON, D.C. – The Cellular Telecommunications & Internet Association recently compiled a list of some of the tax proposals facing wireless consumers in the near future. CTIA is the association for the wireless telecommunications industry, representing carriers, manufacturers and Internet providers.


The association tied Rhode Island to its “stealthiest increase” category, reporting that the state wants to increase its monthly $1 E-911 surcharge to $1.26. According to the association’s experts, the current tax already generates enough revenue to cover E-911 operations and improvements, adding that in 2002, Rhode Island diverted $10 million from the fund to pay for other state programs.


“There are more than 14,000 cities, counties, states, public utility commissions and other groups that have the legal authority to add taxes to wireless service,” said Steve Largent, president and CEO of CTIA, in a release. “It seems more and more of these regulators are simply using wireless phone bills as a back door to tax increases.”