In a recent article, the NY Times discusses scientists’ new findings on how to improve memorythrough electrical stimulation. In a study covered by the New England Journal of Medecine, epilepsy patients were stimulated by getting electrodes inserted into their brain as they were being prepared for surgery. Although these tests are nonconclusive, these patients showed an incredible improvement in spatial memory .
In addition, scientists recently concluded that damage associated with Alzheimer’s Disease beings in the entorhinal cortex , the same area of the brain from the electrode-stimulation study. This is very big news because, with more tests done, this could be a big step towards treating (or curing) memory disorders, such as Alzheimer’s.
Researchers and scientists immediately jumped into another study that takes place in the University of California (Los Angeles). Foccused on the entorhinal cortex and hippocampus , the researchers inserted more electrodes into a small group of epileptic patients, and had them play Crazy Taxi. So as you know, Crazy Taxi is a video game where you have to drive up to people “hailing a taxi” on the sidewalk and drive them to a certain destination on the map in a limited amount of time. After the brain stimulation, the patients’ scores were dramatically higher, being able to navigate the map more easily, due to their improvement of spatial memory.
Whether this answers the question of Alzheimer’s or not, finding a way to improve memory is extremely beneficial in many other cases or disorders. All scientists can do now is take advantage of this recent finding, and perform as many more tests as they can, and hopefully they will come across even more cures to many more memory malfunctions.