These Groundbreaking Brain Implants Boost Memory by 30%

Friday, 15 December 2017 - 12:43PM
Neuroscience
Friday, 15 December 2017 - 12:43PM
These Groundbreaking Brain Implants Boost Memory by 30%
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Want to unlock more of your brain's potential for remembering the things you just learned or things that happened a while ago?

You could do various training exercises based on ancient mnemonic strategies, or you could get in good with the researchers over at the University of Southern California who have developed an implant that mimics the way our brains process memories and boosts its performance.

The "memory prosthesis" device sends small electric shocks to the hippocampus, the section of the brain that plays a crucial role in learning and storing memories, according to New Scientist. The study involved 20 patients who were being fitted with brain electrodes for epilepsy treatments. The patients were asked to play a simple memory game as a test to see what they remembered before and after the implant was connected.

The results showed that on average, the patients were able to remember more of what they had seen 75 seconds prior when the implant was installed versus when it was not. "We are writing the neural code to enhance memory function," said Dong Song, Associate Professor of Biomedical Engineering. "This has never been done before."

The implants didn't exactly give volunteers the ability to lift rocks with their mind or to recite pi to the 800th decimal, but a 30 percent boost to memory is not insignificant.

According to the Alzheimer's Association, 1 in 10 adults over the age of 65 has Alzheimer's, the most common form of dementia that causes memory loss and affects other cognitive functions.

In 2017, that's an estimated 5.3 million seniors in America alone, and another 200,000 that suffer from something called younger-onset Alzheimer's.

The researchers hope that by further developing devices like this memory prosthesis, that they can one day help those millions of people get at least some of their memories back.
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