Scientists have developed a brain implant that noticeably boosted memory in its first serious test run, perhaps offering a promising new strategy to treat dementia, traumatic brain injuries and other conditions that damage memory.
The device works like a pacemaker, sending electrical pulses to aid the brain when it is struggling to store new information, but remaining quiet when it senses that the brain is functioning well.
In the test, reported Tuesday in the journal Nature Communications, the device improved word recall by 15 percent — roughly the amount that Alzheimer’s disease steals over two and half years.
The implant is still experimental; the researchers are currently in discussions to commercialize the technology. And its broad applicability is unknown, having been tested so far only in people with epilepsy.