New Research Shows Electric Brain Stimulation Can Help Memory
Zapping the brain with small bursts of electricity in hopes of improving memory isn't a brand new concept, however a new study shows that the experimental therapy could be more effective than previous studies indicated. A team of neuroscientist from the University of Pennsylvania are the first to successfully demonstrate that electrical stimulation to the brain can have restorative effects.
The study, published in
, represents one of the most exhaustive projects on how this type of
The research was conducted as part of four-year project funded by the
New York Times
, previous studies on deep brain stimulation have had mixed results. Some experts believe that
Though further research is need, the researchers posit these findings could make the case for something called a "closed-loop treatment" that involves using brain implants to send electrical pulses only when the device detects that they would be helpful. "The data suggest applications for closed-loop treatment of memory dysfunction," the researchers said in a brief included in the research. The hope among many neuroscientists is that such applications could help treat symptoms of Alzheimer's, dementia, or other brain injuries.
The biggest takeaway from this study is that targeted electrical pulses can potentially help improve memory performance if they're timed correctly. Scientists, of course, will continue to test this theory while also developing new ways to deliver these types of deep brain stimulations. For now, we still don't have a cure for traumatic brain injuries-but this study certainly gives us a renewed sense of hope.