A Brain Chip to Treat PTSD?

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The U.S. military's Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) has received $12 billion in funding to develop a cybernetic brain implant to record, predict and possibly treat anxiety, depression and other mood disorders.

As part of DARPA's Systems-Based Neurotechnology for Emerging Therapies (SUBNETs) program, the military plans to have prototype built within five years to submit for FDA review and approval.

SUBNETS aims to reduce the severity of neuropsychological illness in service members and veterans by building on existing deep brain stimulation technology. 

“The brain is very different from all other organs because of its networking and adaptability. Real-time, closed-loop neural interfaces allow us to move beyond the traditional static view of the brain and into a realm of precision therapy," said Justin Sanchez, the DARPA program manager for SUBNETS. "This lack of understanding of how mental illness specifically manifests in the brain has limited the effectiveness of existing treatment options, but through SUBNETS we hope to change that."

The program is part of President Obama's Brain Research through Advancing Innovative Neurotechnologies (BRAIN) Initiative -- a 10-year $100 million research initiative to map the human brain.

The Military Is Building Brain Chips to Treat PTSD
The Military Is Building Brain Chips to Treat PTSD

It's an existential dilemma for many of us but for the military, the ability to treat anxiety, depression, memory loss and the symptoms associated with post-traumatic stress disorder has become one of the most important battles of the post-war period.

Now the Pentagon is developing a new, innovative brain chip to treat PTSD in soldiers and veterans that could bring sweeping new changes to the way depression and anxiety is treated for millions of Americans.

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