Deus Ex Now
April 28, 2012 4:24 AM Subscribe
"Jolts to the brain boosts memory!"
Via deep brain stimulation
technique, patients in a UCLA study
)were able to significantly improve their ability to remember and find their way through a virtual environment. Although the study was small, it offers tantalizing clues toward potential treatments of disease such as Alzheimer's and raises the specter of artificial neuro-enhancements in the future.
In the words of the authors of the paper, "Our results show that spatial learning in humans can be enhanced by electrical stimulation of the entorhinal region
, a specific site within the medial temporal lobe and the chief gateway into the hippocampus." This is the first instances that I know of where a human neuroprothesis led to improvement in solving cognitive problems closely modeled on real-life situations.
So how does it work? An accompanying editorial notes that in animal studies electrical stimulation of the same brain regions appears to generate new neurons, which gets hooked up to exisiting neural circuitry.
The subject of memory-related neuroprosthesis has been discussed in mefi before