Brain implants are here, and they're making people happy. It'll probably still be a while before you can neurointerface directly with the internet or your friends and lovers, but psychologists are testing implantable brain 'pacemakers' that regulate brain activity and so far appear really useful for treating the most stubborn forms of depression. We reported earlier on the Soletra implant, but there are many more.
From therapy to drug addiction, humans try just about anything to beat depression, so it figures that the first hardware hack for the brain would try to put smiles on our faces. But instead of piping in porn, the pacemaker uses electrode to fire low-voltage juice into the mood and anxiety centers in your brain, rewiring your neurons to take you to happy land.
The method used is called deep-brain stimulation, and it's been around for a few years, but it's still an experimental technology. So yeah, statements like this one from Dr. Ali Rezai chief of the Cleveland Clinic's Center for Neurologic Restoration are pretty exciting: "We're rewiring the brain in many ways," he says.
But the researchers admit they're still working out the kinks in things like which brain areas are best to stimulate, and how much electrical prodding those areas need. So if you're not debilitated with depression, you might wait a few years before lining up for surgery for your very own happiness implant.
Source: Associated Press