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Brain injury victims may benefit from implantable technology

Many military members suffer from memory loss after receiving serious brain injuries while in combat. Now, new research funded by the Pentagon may provide the key to reversing memory loss suffered by civilians during brain injury events. The new technology seems promising, especially after a decade of failed tries at pharmaceutical remedies for memory loss after brain injury. Now, a new type of implantable probe may be used to help those who have suffered brain injury that resulted in memory loss.

The initiative is not intended to help people regain lost memories, but rather to help victims recover motor skills that are necessary for living a normal life. Many brain injury victims suffer from conditions that cause them to forget how to tie their shoes or even drive cars. Researchers say they would eventually like to enable these victims to fly planes or operate heavy machinery, an admittedly lofty goal.

The probe could help scores of returning military members who land at facilities in North Carolina. Proposed technology would include implantable probes that would be used to prompt increased brain activity. Surgical procedures would be required. Current technology developed by medical device manufacturer Medtronic has already been used to treat Parkinson's. Electrodes are implanted in the brain, with some also placed under the scalp. A power source is implanted beneath the skin in the patient's chest.

Medical technology continues to advance for those who have suffered brain injury because of trauma and illness. Victims who have suffered such injury often face long, daunting recovery processes that can quickly become very expensive. Those who have suffered brain injury because of auto accidents or catastrophic injury caused by another person may be able to recover financial damages to pay for these medical costs. A North Carolina attorney may be able to identify appropriate civil claims for those victims and their relatives.

Source:  Bloomberg Politics, "Brain Implants Hold Promise Restoring Combat Memory Loss" Kathleen Miller, Feb. 07, 2014

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