In Brief
Initial research into using electrodes to improve memory has been promising, and the US army has committed to funding the first wave of human trials.
Thinking Matter

A new study funded by the US military is exploring how implanted electrodes can provide brain stimulation to promote memory improvement. The technology mimics the signal that travels from one part of the hippocampus (CA3) to another (CA1). Scientists believe that recreating this signal is key to restoring a person’s ability to retain memories in people with damage to the hippocampus. The neuroprosthetic is currently undergoing human trials among epilepsy patients who already have implanted electrodes, which scientists can use to record brain activity and stimulate specific groups of neurons.

Brain Benefits

Implanted electrodes can recreate the electrical patterns that spur creation and storage of memories. This raises the possibility of neuroprosthetics helping enhance flagging memories and brain deficits caused by head trauma, strokes, or even aging-related memory loss. Should the electrode implants prove to be safe and effective, practical application of the process will begin with thousands of soldiers who suffer from head trauma related memory loss.