Restoring Memory via Implants for TBI Patients

Restoring Memory via Implants for TBI Patients
Restoring Memory via Implants for TBI Patients

The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) announced that two universities will lead the agency's Restoring Active Memory (RAM) program to develop and test wireless, implantable devices to restore memory incurred due to traumatic brain injury (TBI) or disease.

The UCLA Program in Memory Restoration at the University of California, Los Angeles, will receive up to $15 million and the Computational Memory Lab at the University of Pennsylvania will receive up to $22.5 million over the course of four years to create and evaluate wireless, fully implantable neural-interface medical devices that can restore normal memory function by detecting memory deficits due to injury. Multi-scale computational models will be developed to describe the coding of declarative memories by neurons to understand how targeted stimulation could be applied in assisting the brain to reestablish the ability to encode new memories post-TBI. Following this, an implantable, closed-loop system to deliver targeted neural stimulation that could assist in restoring memory function will be developed and tested.

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The UCLA research team will be creating a computational model of the hippocampal-entorhinal system that will be used to test memory restoration in patients. As the entorhinal area is essential in the role of daily experiences becoming long-term memories, the team will implant an advanced, new wireless neuromodulation device that is ten times smaller than current devices with a higher spatial resolution into the entorhinal area and hippocampus of patients with TBI. The University of Pennsylvania scientists will measure biomarkers of successful memory function in neurosurgical patients who have electrodes implanted in multiple areas of their brains for the treatment of neurological conditions. The biomarkers could then be used with a novel neural stimulation and monitoring system to restore brain memory function. The system will monitor and stimulate a number of brain sites that may lead to a greater understanding of the brain and the role of stimulation therapy in restoring normal brain function following injury or the onset of neuropsychological illness.

For more information visit DARPA.mil.