Scientists have successfully enhanced monkeys' brains using a neural implant, and hope to apply this research to humans, according to a new study published in IOP Science's Journal of Neural Engineering. The study focused on five rhesus monkeys that were shown a picture and tasked with selecting the same image from a number of others after a short delay. Scientists studied the electrical patterns in the monkeys' prefrontal cortexes when they selected correct images, and programmed a brain implant to mimic those signals. The researchers found that the MIMO neuroprosthetic noticeably improved the monkeys' performance on the matching test.
Then they drugged the monkeys with cocaine to dampen their cognitive processes and decrease their performance on the matching test. The scientists found that despite the effects of the cocaine, the MIMO implant was able to help the monkeys exceed their ordinary performance. The researchers hope to apply these findings to humans with impaired brain functions, such as those with Alzheimer's, and they could eventually be applied to enhance brain function in perfectly healthy humans.