People, particularly members of the military who are suffering problems recalling, forming and retrieving memories due to traumatic brain injury (TBI) could soon restore lost memory functions through a new brain implant from the U.S. Military. New wireless neuroprosthetics would help patients overcome memory deficits and bridge gaps in the flow of information caused by brain injury.

The development of new neuroprosthetics comes from the initiative of the U.S. government called Restoring Active Memory (RAM) programme. The military aims to provide a new “wireless, fully implantable neural-interface medical device.”

The Defence Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) is leading the RAM programme. The agency is also aiming to create detailed, high-resolution computer models to understand how neurons code declarative memories, the knowledge that patients can consciously recall and describe in words like events, times and places.

Patients, who suffer from TBI, commonly experience an impaired ability to retrieve memories or recall events that happened before the injury, according to DARPA. TBI also leads to reduced capacity to create or retain new memories.

The RAM programme comes from the finding that about 300,000 soldiers in the U.S. have suffered from brain injuries since 2000.

To treat the condition, the programme includes new methods for the analysis and decoding of neural signals. These methods could help determine how the brain could reestablish the ability to encode new memories, following brain injury through targeted stimulation, DARPA says.

DARPA will be conducting clinical trials of the new device in volunteers with deficits in the encoding or retrieval of declarative memories. Research will also include volunteers undergoing neurosurgery for other neurological conditions.

Researchers are hoping for the new research and development to help patients not just from the military but also the public who have suffered from a serious brain injury.

Prior to the current research, DARPA have already provided technologies focused on the human brain. Researchers have already developed mind-controlled prosthetic limbs, and helped a patient paralysed for more than a decade to feel physical touch again.

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