It sounds like science fiction, but a University of Southern California neuroscientist is working on an implant that boosts memory in humans, Funded by DARPA, Dr. Theodore Berger, a biomedical engineer at USC, is testing a memory-boosting implant that mimics the kind of signal processing that occurs when neurons are laying down new long-term memories.
The implant, which is currently being tested on human patients with epilepsy (after previous successful tests in monkeys and rats), may eventually help hundreds of millions of people experience the pain of a failing memory because of traumatic brain injury, stroke, Alzheimer’s disease,and normal brain aging.
At its heart, a memory is a series of electrical pulses that occur over time that are generated by a given number of neurons, These signals are impaired in people with memory disabilities, Using Berger’s mathematical theorems to program a chip, the researchers can see if the brain accepts the chip as a replacement — or additional — memory module.
And while the implant might be years away from being available, it’s exciting to think about the possibilities.
Meanwhile, there are things you can do it boost your memory right now.
- Get regular exercise
- Have a healthy diet rich in fruits and vegetables
- Participate in social stimulating activities
- Engage in brain stimulating activities such as puzzles, crossword puzzles, brain teasers, etc.
- Control type 2 diabetes
- Lower high blood pressure levels
- Lower high blood cholesterol levels
- Work to maintain a healthy weight
- Don’t smoke
- Seek treatment for depression