Memory loss is common with most accident victims and many others who suffer from memory-related diseases. This has lead researchers from the University of San Diego Brain and Cognition Center to develop a brain implant chip to help those who have suffered some form of memory loss.
The chip is designed to only work when it detects that the brain is not functioning normally. The device uses deep brain simulation to send electrical pulses to aid the brain in storing new information then remains quiet when the brain isn’t.
High electrodes placed in the brain helps it determine the high and low functioning state of the brain to determine when to act thus the surgical process to implant the chip is delicate. Many researchers are drawn to this new technology and are already looking for ways to advance it.
“It’s one thing to go back through your data and find that the stimulation works. It’s another to have the program run on its own and watch it work in real time. Now that the technology is out of the box, all sorts of neuro-modulation algorithms could be used in this way,” – Michael Kahana, a professor of psychology at the University of Pennsylvania noted.
Dr. Kahana also noted that the implants could be made to potentially sharpen memory more dramatically if it were refined to also aid data retrieval rather than only storage.
The technology is meant to aid soldiers who have suffered trauma for wars and also patients of dementia and Alzheimer’s sickness. According to information on its release document, 25 neurosurgical patients undergoing clinical monitoring for epilepsy were recruited to participate in sessions of a delayed free recall memory task. The results showed that the participants did well with patients claiming to have regained their memories thanks to this new technology.
David Mabrey, a 47-year old participant said;
“I remember doing the tests, and enjoying it, It gave me something to do while lying there. But I could not honestly tell how the stimulation was affecting my memory. You don’t feel anything; you don’t know whether it’s on or off.”
Though the technology is promising, there are already concerns that the chip might be susceptible to manipulation and hacking. Other critics stress that like almost everything related to technology and medicine, there might be abuse or awful side effects that are being neglected. While some others argue that the technology may not be affordable and will only be available to the rich hence it will not be beneficial to the masses.
Anyways, I guess this is a major breakthrough that has come to stay.