One of the most difficult effects of Alzheimer’s and dementia, memory loss, may soon be less of a worry, thanks to a new brain implant currently in development by researchers at the University of Southern California, North Carolina’s Wake Forest University, and others. Incredibly, CNN reports that this implant is expected to restore lost declarative memories – those of people, events, facts and figures.
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.
According to Ted Berger, professor of biomedical engineering at the University of Southern California, the process involves recording a memory as it is being made in a part of the brain that is undamaged, using that information to replicate the action in a damaged area.
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.
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