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Scientist develop memory-restoring prosthetic for brain

Prosthetic memory-restoring brain

Scientists have developed the first successful memory-restoring prosthetic for the human brain.

Forbes report that the first-of-its-kind study took a different approach and instead of trying to reverse memory loss, the prosthetic enhances the existing memory-making ability by writing a code into the brain.

Lead author Robert Hampson, at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center, said: "This is the first time scientists have been able to identify a patient’s own brain cell code or pattern for memory and, in essence, ‘write in’ that code to make existing memory work better, an important first step in potentially restoring memory loss.

"We showed that we could tap into a patient’s own memory content, reinforce it and feed it back to the patient.

"Even when a person’s memory is impaired, it is possible to identify the neural firing patterns that indicate correct memory formation and separate them from the patterns that are incorrect.

"We can then feed in the correct patterns to assist the patient’s brain in accurately forming new memories, not as a replacement for innate memory function, but as a boost to it."

The report reveal that the prosthetic delivered improvements to short-term memory which is usually affected first by Alzheimer’s disease and other memory-impairing disorders.

The participants in the research were epilepsy patients and they completed a memory task while the research team recorded their neural firing patterns.

After analysing the code, they played back the patterns in the brains of the participants while they were completing another memory task resulting in a 37 per cent boost to episodic memory.

Although the prosthetic proved to be successful, it isn’t ready for the masses but is a step in developing a tool for people suffering from disorders and injuries that have damaged their brains.

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