Researchers at College of London has recently discovered a method to improve short-term memory using electric current to stimulate the brain and synchronize brain waves. Along with this is a hope that this approach could one day be used to aid those who are suffering with traumatic brain injury, stroke and epilepsy.
The research team found that applying a weak electric current can bring different areas of the brain to sync with one another, enabling people to perform better on processes involving working memory like remembering names, telephone numbers and important dates.
The human brain processes a huge wave of messages at the same time that makes brainwaves working at different frequencies and in different regions keeping a steady beat.
Using the method of applying weak electric current through the scalp, helps align the different parts of the brain and synchronizes the brainwaves which keep them on the same beat.
“What we observed is that people performed better when the two waves had the same rhythm and at the same time,” according to Dr. Ines Ribeiro Violante, a Neuroscientist who led the research.
Dr. Violante’s team used a technique called alternating current stimulation (TACS) to manipulate the brain’s regular rhythm, targeting two brain regions – the middle frontal gyrus and lobule – which are known to be involved in working memory.
The said method was applied to ten volunteers who were asked to perform memory tasks of increasing difficulty while receiving the low electric stimulation to the two brain regions mentioned above.These stimulations were at slightly different times,at the same time or in a quick burst.
Results showed that when the brain regions were stimulated to sync together, the memory tasks actually improved, especially on taking the harder tasks. But when it was out of sync, the opposite effect was seen.
Making this method available to the public may be difficult due to the individual nature of human’s brain. The researchers added that for this method, the electric current should not only get the right frequency but also target the right region of the brain and sync both in time.
This method also uses a very affordable technique which is an advantage for many who want to try the procedure.