Medicine: Steps Toward a Brave New World

The rush is on to treat neural disorders with brain implants

For more than a year, Tess Follensbee had found it easier to start moving her rigid muscles if she walked backward, so pronounced was her Parkinson's disease. In May, all that changed. The 39-year-old mother of four was one of the first half a dozen Americans to undergo experimental brain surgery for Parkinson's at Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville. Last week some 500 medical researchers, gathered at a symposium sponsored by the University of Rochester in New York, watched a videotape of Follensbee in awed silence as she triumphantly, if tentatively, propelled herself forward. Says the patient, who still suffers...

Want the full story?

Subscribe Now


Learn more about the benefits of being a TIME subscriber

If you are already a subscriber sign up — registration is free!