The gloomy prediction of Alzheimer’s is that the longer we live, the bigger the chance of losing our memory to the disease.
Brain implants could minimize the condition with a “memory prosthesis” enhancing human memory by as much as 30 percent. Scientists from the University of Southern California have been working on the development of the implant and revealed their promising results at the Society for Neuroscience meeting in Washington DC.
The brain implant is made up of electrodes which are implanted in the brain.
It’s supposed to mimic the way we naturally process memories by giving small electric shocks to the hippocampus — the region of the brain involved in learning and memory. These electric bursts imitate normal brain activity patterns, so the researchers hope it could help people with memory disorders such as dementia.
A group of 20 volunteers were fitted with the electrodes, and asked to participate in a training session where they were given a simple memory game. Each participant was shown images in a short presentation, then had to recall what they had seen up to 75 seconds later.
The researchers then looked at the responses of neurons in the subjects’ brains to see which regions were activated while they were using their memory.
In a second session, the implants were used to stimulate these specific brain areas with micro-electric shocks.
According to the study, the device can boost performance on memory tests by up to 30%. The researchers hope in the future it could be adapted to be used as a tool to improve memory, vision, or movement.
“We are writing the neural code to enhance memory function,” Dong Song, associate professor of biomedical engineering at the University of Southern California, and one of the authors of the study told New Scientist. “This has never been done before.”
Tech luminaries like Elon Musk have long predicted that future technological advancements will ultimately target the human body itself, turning us into something more than human but less than machine.
Come to think of it, Brain Boosters could be the technological antibody for humans to compete with artificial intelligence.