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(Credit: Markus Felix)

Music

Patient with ALS communicates love of Tool through brain implant

A patient with ALS has made an unusual request. He asked to hear the new Tool album using an implant put inside him to help communicate better with his family and young son. The implant is the first of its kind.

“The neurological disease destroys the nerves that control movement,” comes a report from Science.org, “and most patients die within five years of diagnosis. When a person with ALS can no longer speak, they can use an eye-tracking camera to select letters on a screen.”

The 36-year-old patient began by working closely with a research team at the University of Tübingen, around the year 2018. He was still able to communicate by moving his eyes and informed the team that he wanted an implant in order to maintain some form of communication with his young son. Consent was provided by the patient’s wife and sister. He has lost facial movement since that time, making him the first known patient who can communicate with complete paralysis of his body.

But the implants has been a success of sorts, as the patient has been able to communicate such sentiments as what food he wishes to eat, how much he loves his son, and what songs he wants to listen to. Although it has not been announced to the public, the album is likely 2019’s Fear Inoculum, which would have been played loud for the patient. The album is known for its loud, uncompromising and jagged dynamics. The patient cannot communicate without help from the implant.

Tool have announced their intentions of releasing ‘Opiate²’, a re-working of the tune heard on the Opiate EP. They have also announced a short film which will be released on Blu-ray in March. The projects coincide with the 30th anniversary of their 1992 EP, and the re-imagined tune will be longer than the original version. The extended rendition may form part of the band’s upcoming live show and stagecraft.

The band formed in 1990, creating a new form of rock for the decade ahead, and they have maintained the main core lineup since the mid-1990s. Adam Jones has been in the orbit since the beginning with bandmates Danny Carey and Maynard James Keenan, and Justin Chancellor replaced their original bassist Paul D’Amour in 1995. The band have toured and recorded consistently with the same lineup since.