Woman’s Brain Implant Shut Down by Lightning Strike

Woman’s Brain Implant Shut Down by Lightning Strike

A lightning strike that hit a woman’s apartment in Slovenia shut down her brain implant in addition to destroying both her TV and air conditioner. 

The device was not destroyed like the others, according to U.S. News and World Report, but the woman noticed about an hour later that her neck tremor was returning and realized that the device had shut down. She had to go to the hospital the next day to have it reset.

It was the first report of a brain implant being affected by lightning, and Dusan Flisar of University Medical Centre in Lubljana said the strike might have been fatal if the user had been recharging the device by plugging it in at the time, New Scientist reported.

“If a huge surge of electricity enters the system, it could be conducted into the brain — we don’t know,” Flisar said, New Scientist said.

Brain stimulators are used to treat movement disorders like Parkinson’s as well as dystonia that can cause involuntary contractions of neck and shoulder muscles that are painful, WebMD reported. They are also used for some mental health conditions when patients do not get enough relief from medications.

More than 100,000 Americans use these devices, which have been in existence for more than 20 years, so the rarity of reported problems due to lightning strikes shows that “‘getting struck by lightning’ is as rare an event as we normally think it is,” Long Island Jewish Medical Center neurosurgery Director Dr. Michael Schulder said, U.S. News reported. 

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