Giving a person an electric shock can help improve their memory, scientists have discovered.

Researchers found that a tiny surge of power to parts of the brain can improve recall memory by 11 per cent.

The treatment stimulates certain neurons in the brain so when a person tries to retrieve a name from their brain, they suddenly start working,

If developed it could provide treatment for stroke victims as well as people whose memory fades through other ailments or even old age.

The study, from Temple University, Philadelphia, could also offer solutions to those who suffer the embarrassing situation of forgetting a person’s name.

“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,” said Ingrid Olson, a psychologist who led the study.

“These findings hold promise because they point to possible therapeutic treatments for memory rehabilitation following a stroke or other neurological insult.

“As we age, the connections between the neurons in our brains weaken.”

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

In their study, published in the journal Neuropsychologia, researchers used a current of 1-2 milliamps via electrodes to the scalp of volunteers to stimulate the anterior temporal lobes of the brain.

This is the section which deals with the memory of proper names – those with a capital letter at the front like people and places.

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

Recognising the face but not being able to recall the name is a common phenomenon for almost everyone but worse for those suffering neurological disorders.

They found the electrical stimulation increased memory by 11 per cent but only for up to an hour after the treatment was given.

The study did not say how the treatment could be administered on a regular basis.

(news source http://www.telegraph.co.uk/science/science-news/8049901/Electric-shock-treatment-can-cure-memory-loss-scientists-claim.html)

 

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