I sing the self-healing Body Electric!
With apologies to Ray Bradbury, in this Editor’s view, DARPA’s ElectRX
research is almost revolutionary, yet logical. Like a pacemaker, it monitors a condition (like heartbeat) and if ‘off’ stimulates the organ through an electric shock. Scale it to a nano-sized neuromodulator and you have ElectRX. In broad terms, a tiny device, perhaps delivered by a needle, analyzes an anomaly and delivers an electrical signal to nerve pathways to correct it. For diabetics, it could stimulate insulin production; to treat depression, control inflammation in the brain; for PTSD patients, stimulate the vagus nerve for neural plasticity. Controlling inflammation has other benefits, such as in spinal injury and in TBI. While the Gizmag article
spends time musing on ‘super-soldiers’ and the negative aspect, this Editor sees this research on the relationship between neural circuits and health as a significant development for both medicine and for Version 3.0 of digital health. DARPA web page on ElectRX.