A neuroscientist aims to restore people’s ability to form long-term memories and is experimenting with silicon chips that can process information.
Neuroscientist Theodore Berger from the University of Southern California claims to have deciphered the code by which the brain forms long-term memories. This development hints at future possibilities of prosthetics for memory loss.
According to MIT Technology Review, Berger believes that patients with severe memory loss could be aided by an electronic implant. A chip implanted in the brain would mimic the signal processing that their disrupted neuronal networks usually carry out when healthy, restoring the ability to create long-term memories.
Berger and his research partners haven’t conducted human tests of their neural prostheses yet, but when they externally connected a chip to rat and monkey brains using electrodes, it was found to process information like neurons and retrieve long-term memories.
Within the next two years, they hope to implant a memory prosthesis in animals and show that their chips can form long-term memories in different behavioral situations. They are also planning human studies, collaborating with clinicians testing implanted electrodes for the detection and prevention of seizures in epileptic patients.