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This podcast's purpose is to bring together the field of neuroprosthetics / brain machine interfaces / brain implants in an understandable conversation about the current topics and breakthroughs. We hope to replace needing to read scientific papers on new research in an easy to digest way. Then people can share thoughts or ideas to facilitate 'idea sex' to make the field of brain implants a smaller and more personal space

Mar 11, 2019

Cory Inman is a postdoctoral fellow at Emory University School of Medicine who studies the effect deep brain stimulation has on the emotional experience of humans. He seeks to treat depression in patients and potentially improve their memories through the effects of deep brain stimulation. In this episode, he explains how his team studies deep brain stimulation and navigates the ethics associated with the rising technology.

Top Three Takeaways:

  1. The exact areas of brain stimulation determine if the patient experiences a change in emotion.
  2. Rat and other animal models lead to inferencing in order to see the results of deep brain stimulation.
  3. The ethics of deep brain stimulation and research must always be realized in order to prevent the technology from being abused.

[0:00] Ladan introduces Cory Inman and explains how he studies deep brain stimulation and its effects on the emotional aspect of someone’s personality. He also invites listeners to the 2019 Bioelectronic Medicine Forum in New York. To register, follow the hyperlink or call (415) 546-1259. If you mention the Neural Implant Podcast Channel, you will receive a free ebook written by Jennifer French and published by Neurotech Press.

[2:30] Inman explains how he has tried to enhance memory through deep brain stimulations.

[3:15] His team studied how stimulating the amygdala could affect depression.

[4:30] Patients who are having their brains monitored by implantable electrodes monitoring for seizures are asked if they would like to participate in research on deep brain stimulation and emotion.

[6:20] Inman goes into detail about the conversations occurring surrounding the ethics of deep brain stimulation.

[8:00] It is explained how Inman’s research institution sees 30-45 patients a year which is much more than other ones focusing on deep brain stimulation.

[8:45] The stimulations in the brain are very localized; very specific nuclei in the amygdala can be stimulated.

[10:00] Neurologists agree that certain areas of the brain are not normal in epileptic patients; these areas of the brain could be removed if they are redundant in other parts of the brain.

[12:00] Out of sixty patients, only about two patients experienced emotional changes with amygdala stimulation.

[13:30] The exact areas of brain stimulation determine if the patient experiences a change in emotion.

[14:00] Most of the human cognition occurs unconsciously; different areas and amounts of stimulation to the neural circuit could lead to awareness of emotional differences.

[15:15] Inman explains that staying aware of the ethics of deep brain stimulation poses the largest challenge to his team. Another challenge involves the lack of knowledge in the area.

[17:00] The amperage and frequency can be altered in stimulation; another challenge involves a large number of variables that can be altered with deep brain stimulation.

[19:30] Animal models provide more flexibility to modify parameters that can be later applied to humans.

[20:15] Stimulation of the amygdala is dose-dependent—increased and stronger stimulation leads to more of a response.

[21:00] Rat and other animal models lead to inferencing in order to see the results of deep brain stimulation.

[22:00] Implications of this research involves helping people suffering from disabilities and diseases.

[23:50] Inman shares how one can easily lose a sense of self when suffering from memory loss.

[25:00] Inman hopes to use deep brain stimulation to help people remember the memories that create a sense of self.

[26:00] Inman expresses his concern for the use of deep brain stimulation to control the emotions of other people; he says that it is our job to make sure the dark side of this technology never emerges.

[27:30] Ladan explains how this technology is very controlled and would be hard to take advantage of.

[29:00] With unlimited funding, Inman would gather all of the world experts in various neural technologies to create an augmented reality for patients that would help improve memories.

[30:40] Inman wants to test the real-life memories of people outside of controlled experimental settings.

[32:00] The NeuroPace RNS is placed in epilepsy patients that get seizures from multiple areas of the brain at one time.

[33:15] The device monitors areas of the brain known for causing seizures and stops them via stimulation.

[35:30] Inman wants to create a virtual reality that could help test people’s memories and help increase their retention.

[37:00] Inman expresses his gratitude for the Neural Implant Podcast Channel because it creates an outlet for developments in neural technologies.

[40:00] Ladan describes his interest in how deep brain stimulation could affect people’s emotional states.