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The US military wants brain implants to treat combat trauma

Boston researchers will build a generation of brain implants under an ambitious Defense Department program aimed at pioneering more precise ways to treat mental illnesses suffered by combat veterans, including post-traumatic stress disorder, traumatic brain injury, and depression. The $30 million, five-year project being announced Tuesday is one of the first pieces of President Obama’s BRAIN initiative, unveiled last year in an attempt to foster a revolution in neuroscience similar to the one that occurred when the human genome was sequenced a little more than a decade ago. A second team at the University of California San Francisco will receive $26 million, also for work on brain implants. The research is inspired by a technology already used in tens of thousands of patients: deep brain stimulators that trigger electrical impulses in part of the brain to quell tremors in Parkinson’s disease. But unlike those simple technologies, the new implants will be responsive, including a network of sensors that can read what is happening in the brain and stimulate multiple brain areas if abnormal activity is detected. via The Boston Globe.

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