Bionic Brains and Beyond

Wall Street Journal | June 1, 2012

By Daniel H. Wilson

The National Spelling Bee of 2023 started out like any other, but controversy enveloped the contest when Suzy Hamilton, an 8-year-old from Tulsa, emerged as the new champion. Contestants had been getting younger for years; that was nothing new. But midway through the event it was discovered that Suzy was—in the words of one commentator—”amped.” At the age of 4, suffering from seizures and severe attention and behavioral problems, Suzy had received an experimental new treatment: a neural implant that prevented her seizures and helped her to focus. As it turned out, the device also appeared to make her a prodigy at memorization, as her parents and teachers soon discovered.

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