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Implantable defibrillator. An implantable cardioverter-defibrillator (ICD) is a small, automatic impulse generator and bi-ventricular pacifier implanted in patients suffering from the risk of ventricular fibrillation, ventricular tachycardia, bradycardia and congestive heart failure. This device is battery powered, automatically detects cardiac arrhythmia (irregular heartbeat) and creates a jolt of electricity that forces the heart to restart itself with normal rhythm. This implant is widely used by cardiac patients, and the leading manufacturers of this device are Medtronic, Biotronik, Sorin Group CRM, Boston Scientific and St. Jude Medical, Inc.

Deep brain stimulation. Deep brain stimulation (DBS) is a surgical procedure in which the implanted device creates pulses that directly interfere with the neural activity at the targeted site, resulting in the control of functions like movement and mood. This method is an approved treatment for essential tremors, Parkinson’s disease and dystonia, and also used to treat epilepsy, chronic pain and depression. Currently, one of the major manufacturers of DBS is Biotronik.

Vagus nerve stimulation. Vagus nerve stimulation (VNS) is a major treatment technique for epilepsy and treatment-resistant depression. Via this therapy, electric pulses are sent to the vagus nerve, the tenth cranial nerve, arising from the medulla region of the brain. Since the vagus nerve is associated with several functions of the brain, researches are being conducted to determine the effectiveness of this method for the treatment of medical conditions like migraines, obesity, fibromyalgia, Alzheimer’s, tinnitus and anxiety disorders. Cyberonics, MetaCure and EnteroMedics are the major producers of this implant.

Prosthetics have become much more advanced, sophisticated and user friendly than before. The world portrayed in sci-fi novels like Cyborg, films like Star-Trek and Terminator and TV series like The Bionic Woman, may not be far away. The line of separation between humans and machines has thinned incredibly, giving us bright promises of ‘an era of technological singularity.’


The author is a dancer, karaoke aficionado, and a technical correspondent at EFY. Find her on Twitter @AnuBomb.

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