Military will test brain implants to monitor and treat PTSD

Military will test brain implants to monitor and treat PTSD

The United States military plans to treat and monitor psychiatric disorders including Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) with high-tech devices implanted into patients’ brains. The five-year, $70 million program was launched by Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA). The program aims to help military personnel suffering from psychiatric disorders such as PTSD, depression, and anxiety.

 “We’ve seen far too many times where military personnel have neuropsychiatric disorders and there’s very few options,” Justin Sanchez, a program manager at DARPA, told NPR. In 2013, DARPA announced it would take advantage of President Obama’s initiative to explore the human brain. The program’s funding will develop the electronic devices in order to monitor and electrically stimulate specific brain circuits.

Simple versions of the future brain implants are already being used to help patients with Parkinson’s according to Sanchez. The team, led by researcher at the University of California San Francisco in conjunction with Massachusetts General Hospital, plan to begin with volunteers who already have probes in their brains because of Parkinson’s or epilepsy.

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