Tiny Electrical Shock Can Improve Memory

PHILADELPHIA, Oct. 8 (UPI) — A tiny electrical shock administered to certain parts of the brain can improve memory recall, U.S. researchers say.

A study at Temple University in Philadelphia found the treatment stimulates certain neurons in the brain so when a person tries to remember a name they suddenly start working, Britain’s Daily Telegraph reported.


The findings could lead to treatments for stroke victims and others who suffer memory loss from ailments or from old age, the newspaper said.

“We know a lot about how to make people’s memory worse, but we don’t know very much about how to make people’s memory better,” Ingrid Olson, a psychologist who led the study, said.

Researchers say the amount of current needed was a fraction used in controversial electric shock treatment on mentally ill patients.

In the study, a current of 1 to 2 milliamps was delivered via electrodes on the scalp of volunteers to stimulate the anterior temporal lobes of the brain, which deal with the memory of proper names.

The subjects were shown photos of famous faces to look at and were tested before, during and after the process.

Recognizing a face but being unable to recall the name is a common phenomenon for almost everyone but worse for those suffering neurological disorders.

The study found the electrical stimulation increased memory by 11 percent, but only for up to an hour after the treatment was given, The Daily Telegraph reported.

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