The Neural Technology group at Lawrence Livermore National Lab will seek to develop a neuromodulation system — a sophisticated electronics system to modulate neurons — that will investigate areas of the brain associated with memory to understand how new memories are formed.
The research builds on the understanding that memory is a process in which neurons in certain regions of the brain encode information, store it and retrieve it. Certain types of illnesses and injuries, including Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI), Alzheimer’s disease and epilepsy, disrupt this process and cause memory loss. TBI, in particular, has affected 270,000 military service members since 2000.
The goal of LLNL’s work — driven by LLNL’s Neural Technology group and undertaken in collaboration with the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) and Medtronic — is to develop a device that uses real-time recording and closed-loop stimulation of neural tissues to bridge gaps in the injured brain and restore individuals’ ability to form new memories and access previously formed ones.
Science Today recently spoke with Livermore Lab research engineer, Angela Tooker about the project: