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Secretive Military Agency Develops Memory-Restoring Brain-Implant With Lawrence Livermore Lab

LIVERMORE (CBS SF) -- A brain implant device being developed with $2.5 million from the military's Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) and scientists at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) could restore memories for patients suffering from Alzheimer's disease or from traumatic brain injuries on the battlefield.

LLNL researchers announced Tuesday the implantable neural device would record and stimulate neurons within the brain to help restore memory.

The miniature wireless device is designed to be implanted in the entorhinal cortex and hippocampus, regions of the brain associated with memory.

According to a press release from the LLNL, the device would stimulate neural tissues in these regions where neurons encode information, store it and retrieve it. The device would bridge gaps in the injured brain and restore patients' abilities to form new memories and access previously-formed ones.

Patients would also wear an external device around the ear that would store the digital information associated with memory storage and provide power to the device.

Researchers hope to build a prototype device by 2017.

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