According to documents cited by Wired, a male monkey was put to death in March 2020 after his skull implant became detached.
Updated September 21, 2023 | 1:57 p.m. IST
According to public records obtained by the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine (PCRM) and reported by Wired, Neuralink’s macaque test subjects were put to sleep after developing numerous symptoms, including “bloody diarrhea, paralysis partial and cerebral edema.
According to documents cited by Wired, a male monkey was put to death in March 2020 “after his cranial implant became detached,” and an autopsy found that the implant failure was “purely mechanical and not exacerbated by any infection,” according to Wired.
Neuralink announced Tuesday that it had started human studies on quadriplegic patients.
These are currently available on his website and are cited in letters he sent to the Securities and Exchange Commission on Wednesday accusing Musk of securities fraud. They’re referring to the $280 million Neuralink reportedly raised from investors to develop a brain-computer interface. A UC Davis official declined to answer Wired’s questions.
According to a December 2019 experiment described in one of the papers, a monkey had to be put to sleep after an infection was caused by a component of Neuralink’s brain implant that came loose during surgery.
A few days after receiving the implant, another macaque listed as Animal 15 “started pressing his head against the ground for no apparent reason,” and his health only got worse from there:
Animal 15 began to lose coordination and staff observed that she shook uncontrollably when she saw lab workers. His condition deteriorated for months until staff finally euthanized him. An autopsy report says she had bleeding in her brain and that Neuralink implants left parts of her cerebral cortex “in tatters.”
Musk said the company “chose terminally ill (already close to death) monkeys” as test subjects to “minimize the risks to healthy monkeys”, while claiming that no animals had died following a Neuralink implant. Wired quotes an anonymous former employee who claims this is false:
When shown a copy of Musk’s remarks on pure fabrication.” “We had these monkeys for about a year before any surgery,” they say. The former employee, who requested anonymity for fear of retaliation, says the program required up to a year of behavioral training, a period that would exempt subjects already close to death.