Darpa Studying Brain Implants to Reverse Combat Memory Loss

Published By : 07 Feb 2014 | Published By : QYRESEARCH

The American defense sector is currently studying the development of probes that can be implanted with a view to reversing memory loss resulting from brain injury.

The project that is still in its early stages has been initiated with the goal of treating over 280,000 troops that have been afflicted by brain injuries since the year 2000. Some of these troops have been involved in combat in Afghanistan and Iraq.

This project has been undertaken by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (Darpa), and it focuses mainly on wounded war veterans. However, some aspect of this research could also benefit senior defense personnel suffering from dementia or brain injuries. 

However, there still remains to be a clear breakthrough that will establish the certainty of developing such a device that could reverse memory loss. Over the years, a lot of time and money has been invested in developing drugs to fight memory loss, without concrete results.

Official figures estimate that nearly 1.7 million people in the United States suffer from memory loss every year. Their treatment costs the U.S. economy over USD 76 billion each year, according to data released by the federal health department. Moreover, the US Department of Veterans Affairs has projected that it will be spending some USD 4.2 billion between 2013 and 2022 to care for brain injuries caused to former troops.

The officials at Darpa are hoping to leverage the advances made in neuroengineering to steer this project forward. As a part of this, the Pentagon has invited organizations and companies to send in research proposals that comprise ideas to help restore memory by stimulating brain tissue. If successful, this research project could lead companies such as International Business Machines Corp (IBM), General Electric Co (GE), and Medtronic to show an interest.

This particular project is a part of the BRAIN initiative announced by President Barack Obama.
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