A program funded by the United States Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) is working to develop a way to track and treat psychiatric disorders in wounded veterans. Although most soldiers return with no visible wounds, many have long-term anxiety and post traumatic stress disorders. The DARPA-funded program, which is an extension of President Obama’s 2013 Brain Initiative Project, will be developing a series of devices which borrow technology from prior deep brain stimulation projects. However, rather than stimulating brain activity, these devices will monitor any brain activity to see if there are any abnormalities consistent with developing depression and anxiety disorders. If a condition appears to be developing, the device would then begin to transmit electrical stimulation to treat the condition.
DARPA expects that this revolutionary form of treatment will help to lower the cost of caring for these patients (anxiety disorders alone cost the nation upwards of $42 billion each year), and hope to finalize these devices within the next five years.