Memory Improved By Direct Electrical Stimulation

Direct electrical stimulation has been demonstrated to improve memory for the first time, according to a new study in the New England Journal of Medicine. Scientists showed that the stimulating current, administered through electrodes in a specific area of the brain, greatly improved performance in a virtual driving game that tests spatial memory.


(University of Pennsylvania taxi-driver game to test memory)

“People should run to replicate this study, because the implications are incredibly exciting, both for understanding the mechanism for encoding new memories, and ultimately for the treatment of neurological diseases” like dementias, said Michael J. Kahana, a neuroscientist at the University of Pennsylvania, who was not involved in the research.

In the new study, a team of doctors at the University of California, Los Angeles, focused on a neighboring area, called the entorhinal cortex. The entorhinal cortex is now the center of intense study. It is where the first signs of damage in Alzheimer’s disease usually appear, and it has dense connections to the hippocampus, through which it transmits the streaming data of daily experience, studies suggest — presumably for sifting and encoding.

Improvements of 40 to 90 percent were noted in observations of how well the patients performed on a computer taxi driver game.

People have been fascinated by the electrical nature of the brain, and by experiments to improve or alter brain function using electrical stimulation for a long time; the use of electrodes to capture the electrical phenomena in the brain was first demonstrated in 1912 by Russian physiologist Vladimir Pravdich-Neminsky.

Golden Age science fiction writer Dave Cummins wrote about the idea of enhancing brain memory playback with electrical stimulation in his 1937 short story Brain Control:

The doctor was pleased. "Evidently my process worked perfectly. I call it automatic reversed memory. By sending the proper electric currents through that helmet I reverse the electrical action of the nerve cells in the brain and produce this reversed memory... as real as actual experience."
(Read more about automatic reversed memory)

Via New York Times.

Scroll down for more stories in the same category. (Story submitted 2/12/2012)

Follow this kind of news @Technovelgy.

| Email | RSS | Blog It | Stumble | del.icio.us | Digg | Reddit |

Would you like to contribute a story tip? It's easy:
Get the URL of the story, and the related sf author, and add it here.

Comment/Join discussion ( 0 )

Related News Stories - (" Medical ")

Surgery In Space
' It was a ... coffin, form-fitted to Nessus himself...' - Larry Niven, 1972.

Organoids Galore!
'Runciter's body contained a dozen artiforgs...'- Philip K. Dick, 1969.

Please, Please Let There Be Regenerated Teeth
'Toothbud transplants...' - William Gibson, 1984.

First Biolimb Grown In Lab
A brand-new forelimb for some lucky rat.

 

Google
  Web TechNovelgy.com   

Technovelgy (that's tech-novel-gee!) is devoted to the creative science inventions and ideas of sf authors. Look for the Invention Category that interests you, the Glossary, the Invention Timeline, or see what's New.

 

 

 

 

 

Current News

Robots Take Our Jobs By Reading Our Instructions
'The Talk Between Robots radio...'

Surgery In Space
' It was a ... coffin, form-fitted to Nessus himself...'

Flimmer Navy Drone Flies And Swims
Launch the Flying Sub!

Taser Drones Now Legal In North Dakota
'I sent my eyes on their rounds and tended my gallery of one hundred-thirty changing pictures...'

Growing Metal In The Shape You Want
What more do you need, engineers?

Self-Healing Materials For Spacecraft
'It even had an inter-skin layer of gum that sealed the punctures...'

World's First Full-Colour, Flexible Thin-Film Reflective Display
'A wide sheet of clear material suddenly flared with light and swirling colour....'

Jazz AI Compliments Of DARPA
'I request that you feed the correlation between those dots and the levers of the panel into my memory banks.'

Tasty Space Lettuce!
Having tested, we tasted.

See LG OLED Wallpaper - Amazing Video
'... television that unrolled like a poster.'

Canada's Inflatable Space Elevator Tower
"...establish an elevator system linking Earth to space?"

Ekso Works Industrial Exoskeleton
'Earth's scientists [devised] rigid metallic clothing not unlike armor...'

Mother Robot Evolves Her Children
'The Robot Mother... the most dangerous thing in creation.'

Cheetah 2 Robot Now Leaps Obstacles To Get You
'The legs are long, curled way up to deliver power, like a cheetah's.'

Xiaoice Will Text You And Be Your Friend
'If you spoke English, results might be whimsical...'

Synthetic Coral To Clean The Seas?
'Numberless capillaries arranged in a belt around the smart coral reef...'

More SF in the News Stories

More Beyond Technovelgy science news stories

Home | Glossary | Invention Timeline | Category | New | Contact Us | FAQ | Advertise |
Technovelgy.com - where science meets fiction™

Copyright© Technovelgy LLC; all rights reserved.