Neurological disorders affecting human memory present a major scientific, medical, and societal challenge. Direct or indirect deep brain stimulation (DBS) of the entorhinal-hippocampal system, the brain's major memory hub, has been studied in people with epilepsy or Alzheimer's disease, intending to enhance memory performance or slow memory decline. Variability in the spatiotemporal parameters of stimulation employed to date notwithstanding, it is likely that future DBS for memory will employ closed-loop, nuanced approaches that are synergistic with native physiological processes. The potential for editing human memory—decoding, enhancing, incepting, or deleting specific memories—suggests exciting therapeutic possibilities but also raises considerable ethical concerns. Mankin and Fried review the use of DBS for modulation of human memory; discuss current and future strategies for engaging entorhinal-hippocampal circuitry during encoding, retrieval, and consolidation; and weigh the potential benefits and ethical challenges of memory modification and editing.
- deep brain stimulation
- entorhinal cortex