With all the advances in technology today, scientists still struggle in fully understanding the potential and capabilities of the human brain. About seven months ago, President Obama announced a plan for the further investigation and exploration of the brain. This movement, also known as the Brain Initiative, will allow scientists to develop tools to help them study individual brain circuits and to map the nervous system. The main goal however, and a crucial part of this movement is the restoration of lost memory in war veterans.
The Defense Advanced Projects Agency (DARPA) is the agency that is helping to put this plan into action. They plan on finding treatments for brain disorders affecting soldiers who served in Iraq and Afghanistan. These brain disorders will include PTSD or post-traumatic stress disorder. DARPA seeks to help restore any memory loss soldiers have had related to PTSD. DARPA hopes to achieve this goal by using implanted devices that take over and control functions of the region of the brain responsible for memory, the hippocampus. Tests of this device have already been done on rodents and the plan is to move to humans in due time.
The National Institutes of Health plans to invest $40 million in the Brain Initiative in the next year. Although finding treatments for brain disorders is definitely a goal of the Brain Initiative, Dr. Tom Insel, the director of the National Institute of Mental Health, wants everyone to remember that the immediate goal of this movement is to understand the inner workings of the most complex system in the universe, the human brain.
By Amanda Okpoebo
Source: http://www.npr.org/blogs/health/2013/11/15/245390128/federal-brain-science- project-aims-to-restore-soldiers-memory