The U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) has launched a new project to develop a “human travel adapter”, a bioelectronic carrier that can be implanted or ingested to treat diarrhea and jet lag syndrome in U.S. soldiers,media reported. This integrated system is known as the Advanced Adaptation Protection Tool (ADAPTER) project for the environment.
The system will be designed to induce sleep cycles —- can enter new time zones or return to normal sleep patterns after night-time missions—- and eliminate the bacteria that cause travelers to have diarrhea after ingesting contaminated food and water.
DARPA said in a press release Tuesday that ADAPTER will provide a momentary, non-genetic means to prolong and enhance the combat readiness of fighters. Soldiers are travelers and are therefore plagued by travellers’ illnesses, including disrupted sleep cycles and limited access to safe food and water. Those who did not sleep well were less alert, less athletic, and more likely to lose their way. Current methods of regaining wakefulness often rely on chemical methods to restore it, which disrupt sleep patterns and lead to exhaustion. To make ends meet, fighters often rely on food provided by the military, which is logistically cumbersome and can cause them to consume local food and water, which can lead to preventable diseases, especially diarrhoea. Data from 2003 to 2004 show that two-fifths of the cases of diarrhoea in Iraq and Afghanistan require medical attention.
“The goal of the ADAPTER program is to produce treatments within the body. ADAPTER manages a soldier’s circadian rhythm, halving the amount of time to normal sleep after interruptions such as jet lag or shift time difference. “It will also provide safe food and water by eliminating the top five sources of bacteria in the body that cause travellers’ diarrhea,” said Paul Sheehan, project manager for the DARPA ADAPTER project. ADAPTER selects one of two app tracks. (1) compound delivery in the body to induce circadian rhythm/recovery of sleep cycle, or (2) the bacteria in the body to decontaminatfood food and water caused by the source of traveler’s diarrhea. A 2012 Bloomberg report said as many as 60 percent of the troops deployed in Iraq suffer from diarrhoea.