DARPA is Funding Research to Restore and Boost Human Memory
The continued attempts by scientists to tap the human brain to find ways to restore memory and also the deficits caused due to traumatic brain injuries will be funded by US research agency. The Defence Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) challenged the researchers to build a device that could perform the task.
The devices are being used in a latest trend in neuroscience which is called direct brain recording. Devices send electrodes deep into the brain all through the skull so that they interact with parts of the brain that are linked to memory.
According to latest reports, $40 million will be granted by DARPA to two universities so that they can build a direct brain recording device that could restore memory. The universities that have been awarded this funding are the University of California Los Angeles (UCLA) and the University of Pennsylvania (UPenn).
According to another report, scientists had built an implantable device that was used successfully on rats to restore the brain function. This process is called neural prosthesis. This closed loop of brain-to-machine-to-brain could benefit human beings when it is implanted in the brain.
The scientists have to figure out exactly how to stimulate the brain to repair some of its functions. Their task will include developing computer models to figure out how the human brain codes memories. They will also have to analyze neural signals in order to understand how the brain forms these memories. This will help the scientists to develop methods to stimulate certain areas of the brain which restore that ability.
The two universities are given different aspects of the project. The UCLA team will work on a model of the system of hippocampal-entorhinal which is thought to be the key in learning and memory.
Researchers in the Pennsylvania team will work on implanting electrodes in the brains of volunteer patients. Then the team will perform memory games with the patients and record the data that is collected from the electrodes.
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