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Researchers Design Memory-Strengthening Implant 72

Antipater writes "Researchers at Wake Forest University have created a brain implant that can imitate signals through the hippocampus, the part of the brain responsible for memory retention. Rats implanted with the device were able to remember information even after their hippocampus was shut down, reports the New York Times. Though still in its infancy, this technology could hopefully be used to help treat dementia or stroke victims."
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Researchers Design Memory-Strengthening Implant

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  • by erroneus ( 253617 ) on Friday June 17, 2011 @05:20PM (#36480012) Homepage


  • by GoodNewsJimDotCom ( 2244874 ) on Friday June 17, 2011 @05:21PM (#36480026)
    Memory is good to have, and it'd be fun to remember all sorts of things instead of having to look them up, but with Internet shock pictures, I want an option to delete stuff from memory too.

    Also, is it possible to transplant this device from one rat to another, and give it fake memories? Maybe the way to see is let a rat solve a maze several times over, and then hook it up to another mouse and let it go. If that is the case, put WIFI on it, and let Rats have a communal memory bank too.
    • And eventually we wouldn't need to spend a quarter of our life times in school.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by CrazyDuke ( 529195 )

        There are differences between memory, experience, wisdom, indoctrination, and conditioning. I "know" how to drive a stick shift. I have never actually driven a stick shift. I am fairly certain that should I ever actually get stuck in a situation where I have to drive a stick without practicing first, I should upload the results to fAil Blog.

        • by layer3switch ( 783864 ) on Friday June 17, 2011 @06:42PM (#36480804)

          "I know Kung Fu."

        • Depending upon your standards and tolerance for repairing the damage, driving stick isn't hard. You can always restrict yourself to first gear and barely have to worry about shifting. The tough thing is that you probably don't want to have to buy several new transmissions as you perfect your skills. Motorcycle transmissions OTOH are a lot more forgiving as they're designed so that you ride the clutch frequently.

    • by geekoid ( 135745 )

      good move. That way you have no memory and get to experience the shock again.

      10 Girls and one cup? Sure I'll take a look.
      20 Horror
      30 Delete
      40 Goto 10

    • If that is the case, put WIFI on it, and let Rats have a communal memory bank too.

      So long, concept of personal identity. I always figured robots would be the ones to have a shared identity. It never occurred to me humans might too.

  • Can it enable me to remember where the hell I put my sunglasses?

  • ...but I forgot it...
  • Now all I need is 25 million ISK
  • I'm a neuroscientist so I have to interject regarding an inaccuracy.

    The hippocampus is critical for generating declarative, conscious memory but not for retaining it. Long-term "storage" falls under the purview of parietal cortex, which as a system of neurons generally is involved with associations draw between sensory stimuli and the organism. You can teach a rat to spatially navigate to a platform to get out of a small pool (because rats hate being soaked), get them up to criterion, and then bilaterally a

  • "Researchers Design Mammary-Strengthening Implant" Unfortunately my brain can only make one association with the word Implant.
  • Great but what could a rat know that's worth remembering?
  • ...researchers used a drug to shut down the activity of CA1. Without CA1 online, the rats could not remember which lever to push to get water.

    Weed. It was weed wasn't it?

    • ...researchers used a drug to shut down the activity of CA1. Without CA1 online, the rats could not remember which lever to push to get water.

      Weed. It was weed wasn't it?

      They can't remember what was it.

  • Hope you didn't sink too much money into books in e-reader form.

    Because you're just going to buy them again in e-recaller form.

  • I once read an anecdote about a person who could not forget to the point that it basically drove them insane. Having vivid memory of happy or otherwise useful experiences seems great to me, but imagine being unable to forget gritty details as well. You see some especially disturbing violence for example, and you are more likely to experience a cluster of symptoms known as PTSD. Imagine cues that trigger sad thoughts about a loss (death, breakup, etc) always triggering a full on PTSD-style reliving of the
    • but imagine being unable to forget gritty details as well.

      For people that just don't care, that wouldn't matter (as in, people that aren't easily saddened or angered or people that don't feel emotions). I'd like to remember everything ("bad" things included).

    • Re:Too much memory? (Score:4, Interesting)

      by hedwards ( 940851 ) on Friday June 17, 2011 @06:51PM (#36480896)

      PTSD is more about being unable to leave the memories, pretty much anything you spend that much time thinking about is going to stick. If you repeated think about a specific page out of the phonebook over and over and over again all day long, you'll store that information indefinitely. It's not likely to be of any use, but if you concentrate on in long enough for enough iterations that will be with you permanently.

      It's probably more closely related to the problems of schizophrenia, one of the hypothesis surrounding it is that it's caused by hyperlearning and an eidetic memory. I'm not sure ultimately what the verdict will be when all is said and done, but if you look at the symptoms, it wouldn't be surprising. Folks that are overwhelmed by information overload tend to have trouble sorting and assembling information in meaningful ways.

  • forced me to take plasticized Dextromethorphan cough syrup ("Delsym") for fourteen days until I had a left frontal lobe hemorrhage!! AND... now my working memory is devastated! This is an even better development than the noise-cancelling implant I thought I'd need to make the first one go away. It could undo some of the damage!

    No-one listened to me! I complained about my scientology head chip for eight months before that happened! Now my brain hemorrhage is eight months old and allll of you let this happen!

  • "My hippocampus hurts!"

  • "I think so, Brain, but where are we going to find a duck and a hose at this hour?"
    "I think so, but where will we find an open tattoo parlor at this time of night?"
    "Wuh, I think so, Brain, but if we didn't have ears, we'd look like weasels."
    "Uh... yeah, Brain, but where are we going to find rubber pants our size?"
    "Uh, I think so, Brain, but balancing a family and a career ... ooh, it's all too much for me."
    "Wuh, I think so, Brain, but isn't Regis Philbin already married?"
    "Wuh, I think so, Brain, but burlap

  • Did anybody else read this and think of the singularity? I sure did. []


    • I sure did. But I was thinking more in terms of transhumanism and brain uploading, which isn't mentioned in the wikipedia article (perhaps, I should edit it). One of the key requirements for brain uploading is functionalism [], and I think the original New York Times article presents evidence that this is possible. It shows that when one brain region communicates with another, all it cares about are gross inputs and outputs. Thus, if you replace one brain region with a computer that can produce the same ou
  • I have to have a stroke to get one of these?
  • That is what I use my Android phone for. I have post-it notes under the term buy, movie , song and so more. When I come across something I would like to remember ... I just plug it in ...
  • I can remember where I put my wallet with this.
  • This blows my mind. A good thing an implant can fix that.

If graphics hackers are so smart, why can't they get the bugs out of fresh paint?