Research is currently underway to further support progress towards an electronic implant in your brain that can support long-term memory. Silicon chips have been designed by Theodore Berger with the aim of restoring the ability to create long-term memories in patients whose brains have suffered damaged from Alzheimer’s, stroke or injury. In these patients, a disrupted neuronal network may prevent long-term memories from forming and it is therefore these patients who will be targeted.
Neurons within the hippocampus, an area within brain, allow the recall of experiences and knowledge for longer than a minute, creating long-term memories. The chip therefore mimics the signal processing that these neurons complete when they are functioning healthily within the brain.
Whilst the neural prosthesis is yet to go through human trials, the chip has demonstrated success within rats and monkeys. It has been demonstrated to create the capacity to generate long-term memories as well as retrieve long-term memories from the brain.
However, as the chips rely on mathematical equations, there is a possibility that the researchers have only figured out the codes associated with specific tasks rather than “cracked the code”. This is understood by Berger however, who is still optimistic.
Whilst it may not be possible for all patients to be helped there is hope that most, even if only in a small aspect, will be helped and their condition notably lessoned.