Some might say that the human brain is the most complex and highly sophisticated computer of all. Soon, some say in less than two years, the human brain could be aided by the external computer hardware of a highly specialized microchip designed to restore memory. Sounds like science fiction, but the reality is closer than ever before.
The effects of Alzheimer’s and dementia, particularly memory loss, are tragic. However, there is a brand new brain implant being developed that could help people restore their lost memories. Research teams at the University of Southern California and North Carolina’s Wake Forest University, among others, say the implant has the potential to restore declarative memories, which are memories of people, events, facts, and figures.
The group of scientists working on the microchip, who are from various medical, academic and technological specialties, believe they have figured out how the human brain makes, stores and retrieves long-term memories. They think the microchip could replicate this process in damaged parts of the brain, restoring lost memories.
While having a chip implanted into the brain may sound highly risky, brain implants have actually been used to treat conditions like epilepsy and Parkinson’s disease for the past 15 years. And while the research team notes that the implant won’t be able to help people with advanced dementia, it does appear it could be a potential treatment for more mild forms of the disease, as well as a way to help others, such as soldiers, who have suffered brain trauma.
The U.S.-wide team believes that the device will be ready to be implanted in a small number of human volunteers within two years and available to patients in five to 10 years. If the chip is successful, it could prolong or lessen the need for assisted living or in-home healthcare services for older adults with mild dementia by restoring some access to important cognitive functions associated with memory.
Learn more about this amazing memory implant that could change the way we store memory in this article from CNN.
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