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Mild Electric Shock To Brain May Boost Spatial Memory

timothy posted more than 2 years ago | from the now-where-was-I? dept.

Biotech 65

An anonymous reader writes "A mild electrical shock to the brain before learning a new task may enhance memory, researchers reported on Wednesday. A team of neuroscientists demonstrated that electrical stimulation to a critical junction in the brain appeared to boost memory in a few patients with epilepsy, a surprising finding that have implications for Alzheimer's disease treatment."

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65 comments

In other news (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38987349)

Randomly flipping bits in binary may fix bugs.

Re:In other news (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38988469)

given that apple customers would have to be depressed to buy into the "i can express my individuality with my consumer choices", maybe a jolt of electricity close to ECT levels would help them to realize what utter and complete cocksuckers they are and snap them out of it...?

maybe they'll even realize what an enemy of freedom and workers rights apple are and decide that they want to be ethical. worth a try...

Re:In other news (1, Redundant)

WrecklessSandwich (1000139) | more than 2 years ago | (#38988817)

Have you tried rebooting?

Alight (1)

masternerdguy (2468142) | more than 2 years ago | (#38987351)

Make sure it has an open API.

Proven! (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38987403)

A stab in the arm, prior to learning a new task does enhance memory.

Most people will readily confirm that traumatic events make memories in and around the time of the event very clear and very long lasting.

Also in the news, water is apparently wet!

Re:Proven! (3, Interesting)

TWX (665546) | more than 2 years ago | (#38987461)

Back when I was an avid swing dancer, I met a gal who thought that if she learned to do something while drunk then she'd always be able to do it well while drunk.

I guess she thought she was a good swing dancer while drunk, but I couldn't tell the difference between her dancing and her stumbling around drunk...

Re:Proven! (2)

linear a (584575) | more than 2 years ago | (#38988879)

But she was really GOOD at stumbling around while drunk!

Re:Proven! (1)

jimbolauski (882977) | more than 2 years ago | (#38987885)

I wonder if they used grad students to test this out on. "If this test works not only will your time count towards your thesis but you will get better grades. It's a win win"

Re:Proven! (1)

LifesABeach (234436) | more than 2 years ago | (#38988117)

My thoughts wonder to the idea of how many Watts did it take to "turn the lights on?"

Re:Proven! (1)

h5inz (1284916) | more than 2 years ago | (#38994169)

It is called transcranial direct current stimulation. Usually it is something like 3-9V (Why is it called electric shock in the Slashdot headline?) and probably low amperage as well because a typical 9v battery is allegedly enough. The TDCS is being considered a rediscovery, because 20 years ago psychiatrists would have been very sceptical about the current with so low voltage being able to pass through subjects skull and brain.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Transcranial_direct-current_stimulation [wikipedia.org]
AC: "A stab in the arm, prior to learning a new task does enhance memory." - No, it is believed to be depending on the physiology of the orbitofrontal cortices of the subjects whether good or bad memories will dominate. Stress interferes with human memory formation systems in a negative way (and with all other cognitive abilities as well).

Re:Proven! (1)

mcgrew (92797) | more than 2 years ago | (#38996321)

Usually it is something like 3-9V (Why is it called electric shock in the Slashdot headline?)

Put the terminals of a new 9v battery to your tongue and you'll see.

Goodness! (1)

mark-t (151149) | more than 2 years ago | (#38987417)

They're just discovering all kinds of new applications for electroshock therapy these days! It almost feels like 1945 all over again!

Re:Goodness! (1)

LifesABeach (234436) | more than 2 years ago | (#38988151)

I remember seeing this sceen in the movie, "Taken." This therapy used didn't cause any remembering to occur. Maybe more, "studies" would be helpful?

Sock your kids, make them smarter (4, Funny)

na1led (1030470) | more than 2 years ago | (#38987423)

So if I use a shock collar on my kids, not only will I be able to discipline them better, but I'll also be making them smarter.

Re:Sock your kids, make them smarter (2)

Jeng (926980) | more than 2 years ago | (#38987635)

Naw, a shock headband, the shock has to go though the brain.

Re:Sock your kids, make them smarter (1)

LifesABeach (234436) | more than 2 years ago | (#38988177)

Let's hope the kids don't remember when you go to sleep.

Southpark (0)

TWX (665546) | more than 2 years ago | (#38987429)

I guess that Parker and Stone were wrong when they had Cartman suck so bad when singing "Oh Holy Night"...

Old news? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38987435)

I remember reading about this a few months back

Dr Fried??? (5, Funny)

mcl630 (1839996) | more than 2 years ago | (#38987449)

Should you really let a doctor named "Fried" give you electrical shock treatments?

Dr nick is fine with it (1)

Joe_Dragon (2206452) | more than 2 years ago | (#38987633)

hello everybody

Re:Dr Fried??? (1)

dballanc (100332) | more than 2 years ago | (#38987647)

My grandmothers eye doc was "Dr Blinder". Not kididng. Good doctor despite the name.

Re:Dr Fried??? (1)

gVibe (997166) | more than 2 years ago | (#38990657)

I just have to reply to this ... In Atlanta, there is a dentist named Dr. Hammer. Anyone wanna give him a try?

Re:Dr Fried??? (1)

JoeMerchant (803320) | more than 2 years ago | (#38991469)

Sarasota Florida had (has?) a dentist named "Royal Fink" - proudly emblazoned on the side of the building.

Re:Dr Fried??? (1)

mcgrew (92797) | more than 2 years ago | (#38998939)

Dr. Odin [wikipedia.org] did surgery on my eye (yes, he's real) [ucomparehealthcare.com]

Makes a great present (4, Funny)

wildzeke (191754) | more than 2 years ago | (#38987553)

The portable, memory enhancing electro-shock band is so comfortable, you'll forget you are wearing it.

Re:Makes a great present (1)

sgt scrub (869860) | more than 2 years ago | (#38987755)

forget your wearing... hahahaha biiizzzt. huh wah?

Re:Makes a great present (1)

LifesABeach (234436) | more than 2 years ago | (#38988247)

Could using this device during a test be construed as Cheating? I think the educator would ignore its use, because one shouldn't laugh at the struggles of a student.

I see possibilities... (1)

Oswald McWeany (2428506) | more than 2 years ago | (#38987579)

So if shocking your brain makes your brain get bigger... Does it work if I submit other parts of my body to electric shocks?

Re:I see possibilities... (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38987611)

Insert it into a wall socket and post back with results, its for science!

Re:I see possibilities... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38987941)

e-stim

I hear PES and ErosTek work well..

Re:I see possibilities... (1)

wierd_w (1375923) | more than 2 years ago | (#38988833)

I suggest he try the lane pulsator IV [valleyvet.com]

Nevermind that it is intended for use on cattle, given the track record with Good ol AC and goatse, I figured he needed the industrial size.

Zappy zappy (1)

SJHillman (1966756) | more than 2 years ago | (#38987583)

I know that when my father was teaching me how to add a new electric receptacle, I sure learned my lesson quickly about grabbing a live wire.

Re:Zappy zappy (1)

sgt scrub (869860) | more than 2 years ago | (#38987835)

I learned 1) not to trust my dad, and 2) how to know if your getting spark to the distributer, when he asked me to hold on to the coil cable as he turned over the engine.

Re:Zappy zappy (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38989847)

(when moving around portable electric fence charger)

"Honey, did you turn it off?"

"Yes, dad..."

(grabs both banana clips to hook it up. ZAP). 5000V from hand to hand (and thus, thru the chest) is a blast.

About as much fun as getting zapped by the fencer on the back, or getting electromyograph testing done.

Re:Zappy zappy (1)

drobety (2429764) | more than 2 years ago | (#38988093)

My stepfather learned 1) to not trust me, and 2) to stop assuming nobody touched that switch he flipped earlier before grabbing the (live) wire

not a surprise (2)

sribe (304414) | more than 2 years ago | (#38987601)

I can tell you for sure that a severe electrical shock boosts my spatial memory! As in, every time I even get near that cabinet, all sphincters clench.

A Little Ain't Enough (1)

evil_aaronm (671521) | more than 2 years ago | (#38987607)

Randle Patrick McMurphy loved it...

Calling 'shock' or 'electroshock' inaccurate (2)

Kurofuneparry (1360993) | more than 2 years ago | (#38987657)

This is deep brain stimulation. They're running a constant or alternating current, not producing bursts of electricity or a 'shock'. I've administered the modern, anesthetized, calibrated version of electroshock in my medical training and this procedure described here is also very, very different.

This is much more analogous to overclocking a part of the brain by preferentially stimulating it to work harder. This may be used to improve performance but those applications are still far away. This is most useful as a diagnostic tool or even more likely as a research tool to try to understand what various parts of the brain do.

Then again.... I'm an idiot.....

Re:Calling 'shock' or 'electroshock' inaccurate (2)

LifesABeach (234436) | more than 2 years ago | (#38988313)

Could this application be used to help "plot" the neural pathways?

Re:Calling 'shock' or 'electroshock' inaccurate (1)

Kurofuneparry (1360993) | more than 2 years ago | (#38996209)

Yes, in the sense that they're using it to try to determine which parts serve which function. Certain areas are dependent on the function of other areas, like Broca's area (mouth articulation for speech) being dependent on Wernicke's area (Word association/searching).

Then again.... I'm an idiot.....

Re:Calling 'shock' or 'electroshock' inaccurate (1)

LifesABeach (234436) | more than 2 years ago | (#38996963)

Given that certain areas of the brain are mechanically connected to physical parts of the rest of the body; are these connected areas constructively definable north of the Brain Stem?

Re:Calling 'shock' or 'electroshock' inaccurate (1)

JoeMerchant (803320) | more than 2 years ago | (#38991579)

Of course, the early documented forms of ECT were literally 60Hz 120V through a resistor to the skull.

They got better about using anesthesia to prevent the patients from breaking their own bones after a while...

Quick to Kmart (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38987917)

So we need to start licking 9v batteries?

sounds iffy (1)

keytohwy (975131) | more than 2 years ago | (#38988019)

**May**??

Yes, but what did they forget? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38988051)

Eventually there will be a study that reveals the improvement of spatial memory for new tasks was due to the electric shock deleting older memories in contiguous 512K blocks.

Ask any redneck for a hangover cure (1)

ozduo (2043408) | more than 2 years ago | (#38988217)

Stagger out to the fence and hang onto the electrified wire it's the best hangover cure I ever tried. Peeing on the electric fence has the opposite effect.

I'm spacey enough! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38988367)

I'm spacey enough!

The nice part is that the results scale up (0)

idontgno (624372) | more than 2 years ago | (#38988397)

The effectiveness of this method is amazing when the voltages are ramped up to lethal levels, as long as you' both teach and evaluate before administering the current.

To paraphrase Samuel Johnson, "Depend upon it, sir, when a man knows he is to be electrocuted in a fortnight, it concentrates his mind wonderfully."

Can I get a stronger electric shock that will..... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38988473)

let me forget the Astroturf article on the front page of Slashdot trying to generate some revenue off hoodie sales? K thx bye!

Spatial memory? (1)

PPH (736903) | more than 2 years ago | (#38988847)

Sure enough. One shock and I remembered where the exit was.

Harrison Bergeron wasn't true? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38988899)

Shocking the brain makes us smarter? So Harrison Bergeron wasn't aligned with Idiocracy, but against it? Clever, very clever.....

And the research team was lead by... (1)

chinton (151403) | more than 2 years ago | (#38988927)

Dr. Peter Venkman.

Wait a minute.. (1)

Oasiz (1017554) | more than 2 years ago | (#38989145)

That ab-tronic "slim down fat" electrical shock belt.. I will so wrap it around my head while I study and put the "superman mode" on when it's crunch-time !

Anniversary Gift Idea (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38989629)

Where can I buy this? Seriously.

live example (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38989913)

I believe it because I have seen the proof. During my school days I had a friend who was just a average student but one day he had a electric shock and after that gradually he did better and better in studies. He performed extremely well in his exams later.

More then one use. (1)

Mariomario (2558403) | more than 2 years ago | (#38990231)

So a little shock to help you remember something new. A bigger shock to make you forget your short term memory (used to "cure" depression"). And a huge shock to make you forget everything (dead).

Brian May involved in neurology? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38991187)

I thought that he was an astrophysicist.

(yes I misread the title)

Re:Brian May involved in neurology? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38991271)

It Would Help If William Shatner Wasn't The Sub-Editor Responsible For Writing Slashdot Article Titles

It's like a pacemaker... (1)

crdotson (224356) | more than 2 years ago | (#38992035)

...for the brain.

my experiment (1)

Walt Dismal (534799) | more than 2 years ago | (#38992157)

I tried doing this electric shock thing to boost memory, a couple weeks ago, Or was it last year. Wait, might have been 10 years ago.

Didn't this also help us to learn Maths? Related? (1)

ivi (126837) | more than 2 years ago | (#38992183)

I seem to recall similar work, that suggested a light electricity flow could help math students' learning.

Now, spatial memory...

Is the two related?

Great! (1)

luxifr (1194789) | more than 2 years ago | (#38992899)

...electric shocks for epileptic brains... brilliant idea, really... may introduce a seizure but hey, at least you now can remember it, right?

Re:Great! Wanting to learn new concept (1)

AssholeMcGee (2521806) | more than 2 years ago | (#38993389)

Actually wanting to learn something maybe a new concept!! Key word ----------WANT-------------- What did the teacher tell me about again?? I was to busy napping or not giving a shit...... What else can you waste money and time on?? I get what they are trying to do, but come on. I guess all the time and money spent on neuroscientists educations have to result in something..

Re:Great! Wanting to learn new concept (1)

AssholeMcGee (2521806) | more than 2 years ago | (#38993395)

I got shocked by not shutting the power off to my dining room outlets, I will always remember to shut off the breaker before playing with it..

Well (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38993889)

Quacks.

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