DARPA Brain Implants To Change Moods

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Devices plugged into people’s skulls are being developed by boffins funded by the US military’s research division DARPA.

These implants will use electronic pulses to alter the chemicals in people’s brains in a process called “deep brain stimulation”.

This will then change people’s moods and is believed to be able to treat mental illness and provide therapy.

Artificial intelligence in implants will detect and study the brain to know what pulses to send, described by scientists as a “window on the brain”.

DARPA has handed the cash to teams form the University of California and Massachusetts General Hospital.

Testing suggestions the mood implants can be used to treat disorders such as Parkinson’s, experiments have been also carried out on people with depression, but the the results are inconclusive so far.

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DARPA is funding the project with the long-term goal of being able treat traumatised soldiers.

The current work which includes human testing, was presented at the Society of Neuroscience in Washington, reports Nature.

Neuroscientist Edward Chang said: “The exciting thing about these technologies is that for the first time we’re going to have a window on the brain where we know what’s happening in the brain when someone relapses.”

He added: “We’ve learned a lot about the limitations of our current technology,”

Chang also denied the technology will be able to ready people’s minds, explaining they will simply “have access to activity that encodes their feelings”.

Scientists hope the new implant will allow doctors and scientists are window into people’s minds, this will also personalised treatments for people to better treat illnesses and regulate feelings.

Dementia and Alzheimer’s are also hoped to be treated using the implants, however, the technology could still be a long way off as scientists continue development.

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