Small electric shocks in the brain facilitate memory retrieval

According to a study published in the Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience, it is possible to use small electric current shocks to stimulate a particular region of the brain that is the basis of memory preservation. A small amount of electric current, in fact, according to scientists, could stimulate the left prefrontal rostrolateral cortex and improve the ability of the brain to recover memories.

It is the result that some researchers directed by Jesse Rissman, professor of psychology at the University of California, Los Angeles, have achieved when they increased, precisely through small electric shocks, the excitability of this region in the brains of some patients. Patients were equipped with a small device that sent a small electrical signal to the brain through an electrode placed on the scalp.

This electrical signal was used to increase the excitability of neurons in the left prefrontal rostrolateral cortex. This area of the brain, located on the left side of the forehead, is known to play a key role in high-level thinking, including monitoring and integrating information that is conveyed to other areas of the brain itself.

According to UCLA scientists, this specific region is of fundamental importance for access to our “archive” of memories, which in turn is very important when, for example, you have to make a decision.

“The fact that people do better in this memory task when we excite this region with electrical stimulation provides causal evidence that contributes to memory retrieval,” Rissman says.

Of course, this discovery could prove very useful in the context of all therapies aimed at the recovery of memories and in general at improving memory.

Bill Campbell

I was an editor for several different newspapers in NSW throughout the course of my career before semi-retiring to spend more time with my family. I assist with proofreading and editing here, as well as writing original content.

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Bill Campbell