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What the Heck is a Memory Prosthesis?

MIT scientists are using brain electrodes to restore memory in people who have suffered brain damage.


According to a recent MIT Technology Review article, a team of researchers are using a unique form of brain stimulation to help people retain new information. Referred to as a “memory prosthesis,” the process involves inserting an electrode deep into the brain to mimic the way our brains create memory. It works in people with memory disorders, but is even more effective in people with bad memories to begin with. The team behind the technique believe an improved version could be used to restore memories lost to brain injuries or neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s.

The process works by mimicking the role of the hippocampus, the region of the brain associated with memory. The hippocampus helps us form short-term memories, but also helps us file information away in other regions of the brain for long-term memory. Though early studies have shown promise, the technology has a long way to go before it can efficiently replace the function of the hippocampus.

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