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Hampson, Robert E.; Song, Dong; Robinson, Brian S.; Fetterhoff, Dustin; Dakos, Alexander S.; Röder, Brent M.; She, Xiwei; Wicks, Robert T.; Witcher, Mark R.; Couture, Daniel E.; Laxton, Adrian W.; Munger-Clary, Heidi; Popli, Gautam; Sollman, Myriam J.; Whitlow, Christopher T.; Marmarelis, Vasilis Z.; Berger, Theodore W.; Deadwyler, Sam A. (2018): Developing a hippocampal neural prosthetic to facilitate human memory encoding and recall. In: Journal of Neural Engineering, Vol. 15, No. 3, 36014
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Abstract

Objective. We demonstrate here the first successful implementation in humans of a proof-of-concept system for restoring and improving memory function via facilitation of memory encoding using the patient's own hippocampal spatiotemporal neural codes for memory. Memory in humans is subject to disruption by drugs, disease and brain injury, yet previous attempts to restore or rescue memory function in humans typically involved only nonspecific, modulation of brain areas and neural systems related to memory retrieval. Approach. We have constructed a model of processes by which the hippocampus encodes memory items via spatiotemporal firing of neural ensembles that underlie the successful encoding of short-term memory. A nonlinear multi-input, multi-output (MIMO) model of hippocampal CA3 and CA1 neural firing is computed that predicts activation patterns of CA1 neurons during the encoding (sample) phase of a delayed match-to-sample (DMS) human short-term memory task. Main results. MIMO model-derived electrical stimulation delivered to the same CA1 locations during the sample phase of DMS trials facilitated short-term/working memory by 37% during the task. Longer term memory retention was also tested in the same human subjects with a delayed recognition (DR) task that utilized images from the DMS task, along with images that were not from the task. Across the subjects, the stimulated trials exhibited significant improvement (35%) in both short-term and long-term retention of visual information. Significance. These results demonstrate the facilitation of memory encoding which is an important feature for the construction of an implantable neural prosthetic to improve human memory.