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06 November 2004

Brain Power boosted by current

Apply Current, Boost Brain Power
By Amit Asaravala

Sending a weak electrical impulse through the front of a person's head can boost verbal skills by as much as 20 percent, according to a new study by the U.S. National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke. In the study, researchers at the institute asked 103 volunteers to recall as many words that begin with a particular letter as possible. The researchers then passed a 2-milliamp current -- one-tenth of what is needed to power a small LED (light-emitting diode) light -- through electrodes attached to the surfaces of the volunteers' foreheads. When the volunteers were quizzed again while the current was still on, this time with a different letter, they were able to come up with 20 percent more words on average. The findings could lead to new, drugless treatments for the symptoms of brain injuries and diseases, the researchers said. "This could be a very helpful way of boosting brain function in people with brain disorders," said lead researcher Eric Wassermann, a neurobiologist with the National Institute's Brain Stimulation Unit in Bethesda, Maryland. "Drugs have more side effects and addictive potential. This doesn't seem to have those problems, at least at this point."


Hey, I need some Duracell batteries, mine are running out...

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