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AI controlled brain implants treat mood disorders

AI controlled brain implants treat mood disorders

Researchers are working on artificially intelligence controlled brain implants that could help treat people with mood disorders.

The team - which is funded by the military of the United States' Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) - are working on the software, which is able to record a person's brain activity and use this to help treat mental illness.

Tests have begun on these "closed-loop brain implants", which use algorithms to check for patterns of mood disorder. When these are detected, they send electrical pulses - or shocks - to the brain to correct the mood disorder. It is thought it could one day be used to treat mental illnesses that cannot be treated using current medicines or therapies.

Edward Chang, a neuroscientist at the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF), who is leading one of the projects, is confident their research will improve the technology currently available.

He said: "We've learned a lot about the limitations of our current technology ... The exciting thing about these technologies is that for the first time we're going to have a window on the brain where we know what's happening in the brain when someone relapses."

It comes after Facebook revealed they will be rolling out their artificial intelligence, which helps detect if people could be suffering from suicidal thoughts.

The AI was trialled in the United States in March and it works by scanning the content of Facebook posts and comments for certain phrases that could infer someone was considering committing suicide. Some of the phrases they are looking for includes 'Are you ok?' and 'Can I help?'

Guy Rosen, Facebook's vice president for product management, said: "Speed really matters. We have to get help to people in real time."

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