DARPA-funded prosthetic memory system successful in humans, study finds — dcook4real

Scientists at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center and the University of Southern California (USC) Viterbi School of Engineering have demonstrated a neural prosthetic system that can improve a memory by “writing” information “codes” (based on a patient’s specific memory patterns) into the hippocampus of human subjects via an electrode implanted in the hippocampus (a part of the brain involved in making new memories). In this pilot study, described in a paper published in Journal of Neural Engineering, epilepsy patients’ short-term memory performance showed a 35 to 37 percent improvement over baseline measurements, as shown in this video. The research, funded by the U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), offers evidence supporting pioneering research by USC scientist Theodore Berger, Ph.D. (a co-author of the paper), on an electronic system for restoring memory in rats (reported on KurzweilAI in 2011). “This is the first time scientists have been able to identify a patient’s own brain-cell code or pattern for memory and, in essence, ‘write in’ that code to make existing memory work better — an important first step in potentially restoring memory loss,” said the paper’s lead author Robert Hampson, Ph.D., professor of physiology/pharmacology and neurology at Wake Forest Baptist. The study focused on improving episodic memory (information that is new and useful for a short period of time, such as where you parked your car on any given day) — the most common type of memory loss in people with Alzheimer’s disease, stroke, and head injury. The researchers enrolled epilepsy patients at Wake Forest Baptist who were participating in a diagnostic brain-mapping procedure that used surgically implanted electrodes placed in various parts of the brain to pinpoint the origin of the patients’ seizures. Developing a hippocampal neural prosthetic to facilitate human memory encoding and recall. Source: www.kurzweilai.net

via DARPA-funded prosthetic memory system successful in humans, study finds — dcook4real

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