A government agency has begun work on a project to help those with traumatic brain injuries.
When someone suffers a traumatic brain injury, the effects can be devastating. In some cases, patients experience emotional difficulties, personality changes and even a decline in cognitive skills and memory. Researchers at the Defense Advance Research Projects Agency are currently testing a new device that could prove useful in helping traumatic brain injury patients regain lost memory functions.
The goal of DARPA's Restoring Active Memory project is to develop a device that can be implanted in a patient's brain to help restore memory function in patients who have some kind of brain injury. While this, of course, includes traumatic brain injury patients, researchers believe that their techniques might even be able to help those with Alzheimer's disease, Parkinson's disease and other conditions.
The first challenge for the DARPA research team is figuring out how the brain stores memories and the mechanism by which memories are recalled. The team will also have to learn more about how different kinds of stimulation can affect the brain's ability to recall certain memories.
The DARPA program is just one part of the Brain Research through Advancing Innovative Neurotechnologies program announced by President Obama in 2013. The impetus for this program is the large numbers of veterans who have returned from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan with traumatic brain injuries. According to the Defense and Veterans Brain Injury Center, more than 300,000 veterans have suffered some kind of traumatic brain injury in the past few years.
The reality, of course, is that traumatic brain injuries are not only a problem for those in the armed forces. Over the past few years, studies have shown that an increasing number of people in the U.S. are being admitted to hospital emergency rooms for traumatic brain injury symptoms. In fact, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the most common causes of traumatic brain injuries in the U.S. are falls and car accidents.
While DARPA has focused its initial efforts on helping veterans with brain injuries, it is clear that the agency's efforts could pay dividends for civilian patients, as well. Hopefully, in just a few years, physicians will have even more options available to help those who have suffered traumatic brain injuries.
If you have suffered a traumatic brain injury, no matter the cause, consider speaking to a personal injury attorney. A personal injury attorney can provide essential information about your rights and can help you decide on what steps to take next.