The human body has tremendous potential for recovery. We suffer through countless injuries & traumas through our lives, but the body still shows the resilience to bounce back & correct its own system. DARPA is working on a program to decode this ability of self healing on a nano scale & boost it using nano-devices. DARPA scientists call this research, the Electrical Prescriptions (ElectRx) Program.
Under this program, seven teams of scientists will work towards healing illnesses that may not be responsive to traditional Medical Treatments, such as chronic pain, inflammatory disease, post-traumatic stress etc. To be able do this, the team is working on ways to tap into the nervous system, which will give them precious medical information about the body, along with the ability to detect & stop the onset of a disease, before it does any harm.
The idea for this program came from the design of a simple Cardiac Pacemaker, a device which monitors the heart & delivers targeted electric shocks to the muscles of the heart as an encouragement to beat at a normal rate. The scientists are trying to implement the same concept, but on a much smaller scale. They are working on nano devices, that will constantly monitor the conditions of the body & stimulate targeted nerve pathways to trigger a healing reaction when needed.
The program could have huge potential benefits for soldiers in combat, who often suffer huge consequences because they are not able to get correct diagnosis & treatment at the right time. This technology will give them a fighting chance in the field.
In addition to the good side, there is also a fear, that this technology could also be used a Torture Device, using the bodies own system to cause pain, or even emotional manipulation. That’s what makes this a very controversial technology to have in combat zones.
Facing this ethical turmoil, it helps to think of the eventual benefits normal people would get. It would be greatly helpful for people suffering from various diseases, such as diabetes, arthritis, liver failure, depression & other mental & physical disorders. We just hope DARPA creates a practical application for this technology soon.