Brain Implant Boosts Mental Function in Human by Electric Stimulation

Nov, 2021 - By WMR

Brain Implant Boosts Mental Function in Human by Electric Stimulation

A new study found that a computer-controlled brain implant detects electric biomarkers of cognitive deficits and reacts by stimulating particular brain regions improving cognitive functions.

Scientists at the Massachusetts General Hospital and University of Minnesota Medical School conducted a pilot human study that demonstrated possibilities for improving specific human brain functions associated with mental flexibility and self-control by the use of AI combined with targeted electric brain stimulation. The research published in the journal Nature Biomedical Engineering on November 01, 2021 was conducted on 12 patients at Massachusetts General Hospital undergoing the treatment for epilepsy, a surgical procedure where numerous tiny electrodes are implanted in the brain to record and identify activity that originate seizures.

This new study demonstrated that restoring neural activity is possible by detection of cognitive deficit is with a brain implant that responds by targeting electric stimulation in specific brain regions. Such implants are known as a closed-loop system, which works similarly as a cardiac pacemakers that maintains ideal heart rates by stimulating the heart. In this new research, it is indicated that cognitive control deficits are normal in mental disorders, such deficits can be measured by using cognitive control tests, and there are distinct electrophysiologic signs that match with these cognitive deficit.

The team speculates that this treatment may benefit different mental diseases as it could be used for treating emotional or cognitive problems such as improvement and monitoring emotional or learning dysregulation. Even if there are technological gaps remaining before using these findings in clinical application, and the need of building evidence for cognition as a main focus of treatment, these results may base a highly precise approach to intervene neuropsychiatric disorders in humans. The team is now preparing clinical trials, as the FDA has already approved the target for improving cognitive control.

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