Logo: University of Southern California

Viterbi Brain Prosthesis Experiments Receive Wide International News Coverage

Theodore Berger's words — 'Flip the switch on, and the rats remember. Flip it off, and the rats forget,' are repeated around the world

July 05, 2011 —

Recent research by Professor Theodore Berger of the USC Viterbi School's Department of Biomedical Engineering has attracted worldwide attention. Below is the beginning of the USC News story, Restoring Memory, Repairing Damaged Brains

USC Viterbi School of Engineering scientists have developed a way to turn memories on and off—literally with the flip of a switch.

Using an electronic system that duplicates the neural signals associated with memory, they managed to replicate the brain function in rats associated with long-term learned behavior, even when the rats had been drugged to forget.

Below is a sampling of the numerous stories on this work that have appeared. Click on the logos to read them.

Scientists have designed a brain implant that restored lost memory function and strengthened recall of new information in laboratory rats — a crucial first step in the development of so-called neuroprosthetic devices to repair deficits from dementia, stroke and other brain injuries in humans
 A team of scientists led by a USC professor manipulates brain cells in rats so that memories are activated or suppressed. The technology could one day have medical applications
With a flick of a switch and a burst of electrical activity, rats have been given access to lost memories. The concept might one day help people with brain damage remember how to perform everyday tasks.
Researchers have developed the first memory prosthetic device—a neural implant that, in rats, restored lost brain function and improved short-term memory retention. While human testing is still a distant goal, the implant provides evidence that the brain's complex neural code can be interpreted and reproduced to enhance cognitive function.
"Flip the switch on, and the rats remember. Flip it off, and the rats forget," said Theodore Berger of the University of Southern California's Viterbi School of Engineering's Department of Biomedical Engineering.
In case you don’t read The Journal of Neural Engineering, here’s the news: scientists have created a brain implant that restores lost memory function and strengthens recall. A brain implant. Now, it was in a rat. But it’s proven what can be done
Experiments with "memory programming" conducted by researchers at the University of Southern California’s (USC) Viterbi School of Engineering could lead to breakthroughs in dealing with human memory loss, especially to help the 5 million Americans who suffer from Alzheimer’s disease.

Researchers Build Memory On/Off Switch

The brain prosthesis marks the first time that researchers have been able to duplicate the brain's learning process, restoring memories that test rats were drugged to forget, and could offer hope for people with dementia.
With an Artificial Memory Chip, Rats Can Remember and Forget At the Touch of a Button
Using electrical probes embedded into the brains of rats, scientists have managed to replicate the brain function associated with long-term behavior and found a way to literally turn memories on and off with the flip of a switch.
Dr. Berger optimistically stated that even a slight memory increase in a patient suffering from dementia, “might be enough to keep that person out of the nursing home.”
Scientists restore memory of drugged rats, hope to do the same with people
A “MAGIC” switch which restores memory could bring hope to millions of Alzheimer’s sufferers. Researchers from the University of Southern California tested their invention on rats drugged to forget and found it worked immediately
[South Africa) In normal rats, "the device could actually strengthen the memory being generated internally in the brain and enhance the memory capability", said the study published in the Journal of Neural Engineering.
The Matrix reality: Scientists successfully implant artificial memory system - Decades-long work led by Theodore Berger at University of Southern California has provided a big step in the direction of artificial working memory
"Flip the switch on, and the rats remember. Flip it off, and the rats forget," said Theodore Berger of the USC Viterbi School of Engineering''s Department of Biomedical Engineering.
Durch das Umlegen eines Schalters und einen Impuls elektrischer Energie haben Wissenschaftler der University of Southern California Ratten erneuten Zugang zu verlorenen Erinnerungen ermöglicht.... Das Team um Theodore Berger implantierte Elektroden in den Hippokampus.
After studying the chemical interactions that allow short-term learning and memorization in rats, a group of scientists lead by Dr. Theodore Berger—from the University of South California's Viterbi School of Engineering—have built a prosthetic chip that uses electrodes to enhance and expand their memory abilities.