A new initiative by the US military program focuses around treating defense personals from the after effects of being into war. In majority of cases, soldiers who come back from battle zones develop adjustment problems or psychiatric disorders to be more specific. For instance, combatants were diagnosed with “shell shock” during the era of WW I, “battle fatigue” during WW II and in Vietnam War, it was PTSD, post-traumatic stress disorder.
Backed up by President Obama’s brain initiative, DARPA has received a funding of $70 million from the US to fabricate devices based on Deep Brain Simulation (DBS) technology. This technology involves implanting electrodes onto the electrically stimulated portion of the brain.
With an aim of getting insights into the functioning of the psychiatric disorders including hopelessness, anxiety disorders and compulsive habits, the new implants would first track the activity within the brain than exciting the neurons. After the information has been gathered, stimulation would be provided to the particular region within the brain to restore the natural functioning.
Coalescing Diagnostic and Therapeutic Functions
Sanchez, DARPA’s program manager said that they are working towards creating neuroprosthetic devices that can have direct access to the hippocampus – part of the brain that is responsible for memory forming and storing – that can help in restoring the first type of memories, which has higher chances of getting deleted during an injury at the line of duty.
The electronic implantation relies on neural plasticity also known as brain plasticity, which would first perform the diagnostic functions like recording and stimulation and finally followed by therapeutic approaches. The device would be removed once the circuits that are driving psychiatric or neurologic symptoms are rehabilitated.
Such initiatives are definitely a harbinger of success especially to those families who have already suffered a lot. I hope, the concept is not the beginning of Source Code, I hope you understand 😉