Precisely-Timed Neural Stimulation Improves Memory

SALT LAKE CITY (February 6, 2018) — The University of Pennsylvania Computational Memory Lab recently reported in Nature Communications that targeted and precisely-timed stimulation to the lateral temporal cortex rescues periods of poor memory encoding, thereby improving memory by as much as 15%.

Researchers used Blackrock Microsystems neural recording and stimulation equipment to demonstrate that precisely-timed lateral stimulation to the temporal cortex enhances memory. Additionally, findings show that stimulating neural populations outside of the mediotemporal lobe can reliably improve memory outcomes. A novel method was used for applying stimulation by developing patient-specific models of neural activity that were used to classify memory-related brain states. When memory function was predicted to be poor in these memory-related brain states, stimulation was delivered in pulses of an amplitude and frequency based on pre-tests while the patient was at rest. “It was immensely rewarding to provide Dr. Kahana and the whole research team with customized solutions to empower their innovative research approach,” says Blackrock Microsystems CEO, Marcus Gerhardt. He continued, “The discoveries by Dr. Kahana and his team mean that we are another step closer to neural interfaces improving human lives in a clinical application.” These findings suggest a strategy for improving memory modulation with potential applications for the treatment of memory dysfunctions such as amnesia, Alzheimer’s, and Dementia.

Led by Michael J. Kahana, PhD, this work was supported by the DARPA Restoring Active Memory (RAM) program. Data was collected from 25 patients undergoing intracranial electroencephalographic monitoring as part of a clinical treatment for drug-resistant epilepsy. Participating centers included Thomas Jefferson University Hospital (Philadelphia, PA), University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center (Dallas, TX), Emory University Hospital (Atlanta, GA), Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center (Lebanon, NH), Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania (Philadelphia, PA), and the Mayo Clinic (Rochester, MN).


About Blackrock Microsystems LLC

Blackrock Microsystems, based in Salt Lake City, Utah, was founded in 2008 and is the world’s leading provider of technology in the neuroscience, neural engineering, and neural prosthetics space. The company’s technology is at the core of worldwide innovations in Brain-Machine Interfaces (BMI), implantable bionic technologies and epilepsy diagnostics.

Media contact:

Shilo Case
+ 1 801 582-5533, ext. 222

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