Military To Develop Brain Implants For Injured Vets

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The rate of Alzheimer's disease and other dementias is falling in the United States and some other rich countries — good news about an epidemic that is still growing simply because more people are living to an old age, new studies show.  (MAURICIO LIMA/AFP/Getty Images)

The rate of Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias is falling in the United States and some other rich countries — good news about an epidemic that is still growing simply because more people are living to an old age, new studies show. (MAURICIO LIMA/AFP/Getty Images)

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WASHINGTON (CBS DC) – While it may sound like a plan out of science fiction, the Pentagon is serious about developing a program using brain implants to restore memory.

The Restoring Active Memory (RAM) program is being led by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA)

The goal is to create a wireless implant for service members who suffer from traumatic brain injuries.

The “neuroprosthetic” would deliver electrical signals to specific parts of the brain. Deep brain stimulation has successfully treated victims of Parkinson’s disease and other chronic brain illnesses.

“We’re developing new neuroprosthetics to bridge the gap in an injured brain to restore memory function,” said DARPA Program Manager Justin Sanchez.

Such brain injuries often interfere with the ability to recall specific events, times and places.

Victims may be unable to recall events from before their injury or to form new memories.

More than 270,000 U.S. veterans have been diagnosed with traumatic brain injury since 2000; the condition affects about 1.7 million civilians in the United States each year, according to DARPA.

(TM and © Copyright 2014 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2014 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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