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After publicizing its first ever human trial this year, Elon Musk's brain chip company Neuralink was forced to admit that wires in the patient's neural implant had become loose.

And now Reuters reports, citing unnamed sources at the company, that the startup has known for years that wires in its brain chip are known to "retract" — meaning the Musk's venture knew about the safety issue and forged ahead with the patient's brain surgery anyway.

This all sounds alarming in light of all the horrific news about the startup's monkey brain experiments, which have drawn scrutiny from policymakers in Washington, D.C.

But the US Food and Drug Administration apparently knew about the ongoing wire issues before approving the human trial, Reuters reports, and declined to comment on this recent news. It did tell the news agency that it's observing Neuralink test subjects.

In January, Neuralink disclosed its first human trial and called it a success because its subject, Noland Arbaugh, a 29-year-old quadriplegic, was able to play video games like Mario Kart with his mind using Neuralink's brain-computer interface implanted in his skull.

The implant is made up a battery, communications chip, a microprocessor, and other tech packed into a quarter-size circular container. Emanating from this implant are 64 wire threads, finer than a human hair, and which are woven into the brain's motor cortex so that it may "read" the patient's mind.

After they inserted the implant in Arbaugh's brain, Neuralink researchers noticed that data from the device declined over time, signaling that some of the wires had come loose. Some at Neuralink think that air introduced inside Arbaugh's skull during surgery might have been a factor.

Neuralink says it compensated for the issue by making the device's algorithms more sensitive.

Anonymous sources told Reuters that wires coming loose in future patients may degrade the performance of the brain chips, and even tweaking the algorithms may not be enough to compensate for this loss.

Also, redesigning the chip's wire threads so they could anchor into the brain could result in neurological damage if the wires come loose once again or Neuralink decides to remove the implant, sources told Reuters.

Hopefully these kinks can get worked out. As seen in Arbaugh's case, the brain chips hold enormous promise for disabled people — but that's obviously not an excuse to scrimp on safety.

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