Feeling a bit forgetful? The government is here to help. The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) has awarded Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in California up to $2.5 million to develop an implantable neural device that would help restore memory. The first patients will be victims of traumatic brain injury or TBI, often suffered by soldiers who have survived bomb blasts.
“Currently, there is no effective treatment for memory loss resulting from conditions like TBI,” said Satinderpall Pannu, who will lead the project. The scientists will develop a miniature wireless device that can be implanted for the long-term in the entorhinal cortex and hippocampus — regions of the brain associated with memory. Patients will wear an external device around the ear, akin to a hearing aid, to store information and hold the telemetry. The team has developed a number of small, implantable devices. No word on whether they intend to implant memories a la Arnold Schwarzenegger in “Total Recall.”
- Maggie Fox