Brain implants for memory loss in development

Care and cure magazine - Winter 2015

Researchers are working to develop a prosthetic brain implant that could have the potential to help treat people with memory loss. 

The device is being designed by DARPA (the US Defence Advanced Research Projects Agency) to help soldiers with memory loss, but could also benefit people with dementia. 

Dementia often causes damage to the hippocampus, a part of the brain that is responsible for processing memories before they are passed to other areas of the brain for long-term storage. In theory, this implant would work by allowing the signals to bypass the damaged hippocampus and be processed artificially into a signal that can be committed to memory.

Using electrical recordings from the brains of nine people, the researchers have developed a computer model of how the human hippocampus forms memories. 

The next steps will be to design an implant device that can send electrical signals into the human brain and test it in people who have a damaged hippocampus.