Studies have found that electric shocks help restore memory
Last Update: 2020-06-19
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Cognitive neuroscientists at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) have found a way to use electric shocks to help restore memoryThey identified a specific area of the brain that plays an important role in memory, and for the first time, sophisticated experiments have shown that after receiving the right electrical stimulation, the area can help people remember things they have forgotten - for example, words they memorized the day beforeThe study is published in the recent journal of cognitive neuroscience< br / > this area of the brain is called the lateral prefrontal cortex, which is located almost behind the forehead between the left eyebrow and the hairlinePrevious imaging evidence from fMRI suggests that this region is involved in advanced thinking, including monitoring and integrating information processed by other brain regions"We believe that the left prefrontal lateral cortex is particularly important in extracting the formed memory and making relevant decisions." Professor Jesse Rissman of UCLA Brain Institute, the study's co-author, saidIn order to verify this point, nearly 80 healthy volunteers were recruited to carry out the experimentThe average age of the volunteers was 20, and there was no problem with their ability to form memories< br / > on the first day, the researchers showed each volunteer 80 wordsDifferent from the simple "rote learning", every word on the screen also displays a prompt: "oneself" or "others"According to the prompts, volunteers need to associate the word with themselves or others to form situational memory(for example, when "gold" and "others" appear at the same time, you can think of a friend wearing a gold necklace.) < br / > the next day, the volunteers came to the lab again to take the testThey were asked to recall which words they recited yesterday were related to "themselves" and which words were related to "others"< br / > at the same time, the volunteers wore a device on their heads that sent a weak current from the electrodes attached to the scalp to stimulate the left prefrontal cortexThis technique is called transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS)According to the placement of electrodes, electrical stimulation can enhance or inhibit the excitability of nerves< br / > in the first few minutes, tDCS equipment will give volunteers a slight heat, mild tingling sensation But then, the researchers did "hands and feet," and during the first half hour of the test, they asked all participants to receive "false" stimulation without current to measure their normal performance As expected, there was no significant difference in participants' performance at this time < br / > in the second half hour, the volunteers were divided into three groups The electrical stimulation could enhance and inhibit the excitability of the nerve and not change the activity of the neuron Because the current is very weak, the subjects will not perceive the difference themselves However, the test results of recall task showed a gap quickly: the performance of the group receiving excitatory stimulation was 15.4% higher than that of the group continuing to receive false stimulation, and the performance of the group being inhibited was equivalent to that of the group receiving false stimulation < br / > ▲ among the three groups of volunteers, the scores of the group receiving electrical stimulation to enhance nerve excitability in the second half hour were significantly improved in the memory test (picture source: reference ) < br / > interestingly, the researchers also included two items in the design of the test, one was the vocabulary analogy test to investigate reasoning ability, the other was the visual perception test In these two items, there was no significant difference between the three groups The results also showed that the left prefrontal cortex received selective improvement in scene recall < br / > there are two cases of "don't remember" One is not remembering at all, such as not paying attention to the word when it is first heard or seen, and failing to form a memory In this case, electrical stimulation will not help But in another case, when memories do form but are hard to remember, electrical stimulation can help extract memories In other words, I learned in class, did my homework and recited it before the exam, but I couldn't remember it during the exam, which belongs to the latter < br / > here, we need to remind that transcranial direct current stimulation is not an FDA approved device, as professor Rissman said: "it is not recommended to try it in an unsupervised, non scientific research situation Because this is still an early stage in science, if you try to shock yourself at home, it is likely to cause unsafe stimulation to the brain due to excessive current or time " < br / > in addition, this brain area is not the only one that plays a role in memory recovery The researchers say the next goal is to better understand the role of each area and the effect of electrical stimulation on other memory tasks < br / > in other words, if you want to improve your performance in memorizing words, please do more hard work before the exam week of this semester < br / > reference materials: < br / >  Andrew J Westphal et al (2019) anodal transitional direct current simulation to the left rostral frontal cortex selectively improves source memory retrieval, Journal of cognitive neuroscience Doi: 10.1162/jocn_ A_ 01421 < br / >! In this way, these young people improve their ability to remember words
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