Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) is one of the most common injuries suffered by service members. Over 300,000 traumatic brain injuries have been diagnosed since 2000 according to the the Department of Defense. TBIs affect a veterans memory and the ability to perform normal tasks that most people take for granted. TBIs can also lead to the development of other conditions including seizures, dementia, Parkinson’s disease, and depression. A VA study recently showed a link between brain injuries and the development of post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
Prostheses for Traumatic Brain Injuries?
Because of the prevalence and serious consequences of TBIs, it is good to know that doctors and other scientists are working to develop treatments to improve function for veterans and other individuals who have suffered a TBI. According to an article on the Department of Defense website, one exciting new idea being developed is a “neuroprosthesis”. The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) is working to develop wireless implantable brain prostheses to help treat traumatic brain injuries. It appears that these implants would attempt to repair the gap in memory function that was caused by the TBI. In that sense, they are very similar to a leg prosthesis that allows an injured veteran to walk after a leg amputation.
Currently, this project is being developed over four years with involvement from teams at the University of Pennsylvania, the University of California, Los Angeles, and Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory. Hopefully, this research will lead to effective medical treatments that allow TBI victims to recover much, if not all, of the functioning they have lost.