At the age of 27, Jessie Owen was in a devastating car accident that left her with a severe spinal cord injury. She lost much of the function in her hands, arms and legs, and she was diagnosed with central spinal cord syndrome. Her brain’s ability to send and receive signals to and from the parts of her body below her neck was severely impaired. She had to take a leave of absence from her job as a teacher, and she has since been dependent on a wheelchair and caregivers for day-to-day living.
Growing up, Abhivyakti (Abhi) Gautam was most excited on Tuesday, because on that day, she could spend a whole additional hour during school playing basketball or tennis. A national level tennis player, Gautam was born in India to the son and daughter, respectively, of two school principals who had both laid the foundation of India’s education system after the country won its independence in 1947.
According to the World Health Organization, almost a billion people around the world are affected by neurological disorders such as stroke, epilepsy and Alzheimer’s disease. That’s nearly one in six of us. For most of human history, many of these conditions have been virtually untreatable, and even today, modern medicine can only go so far. But neural engineers such as CNT member Azadeh Yazdan, are pushing the envelope, seeking to widen our understanding of the brain, how it works, and what can be done to heal and restore this most vital organ when it doesn’t.
Visvesh Sathe, a Center for Neurotechnology member and associate professor in electrical and computer engineering at the University of Washington, conducts research in a variety of areas applicable to circuits and architectures for low-power computing and biomedical systems. His work is always on the cutting edge of technology development and often holds potential for widespread human impact.
Neurodiverse learners are defined as those with academic challenges related to conditions such as dyslexia, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and autism spectrum disorder. Traditionally, these conditions have been seen primarily as disabilities, but times are changing, and more people, companies and organizations are beginning to recognize the unique strengths of those with neurodiverse conditions and characteristics.