AANS Neurosurgeon | Volume 29, Number 2, 2020


Tickling the Brain with Electrical Stimulation Improves Memory, Study Shows

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Tickling the brain with low-intensity electrical stimulation in a specific area can improve verbal short-term memory.

The researchers found word recall was enhanced with stimulation of the brain’s lateral temporal cortex, the regions on the sides of the head by the temples and ears. Patients recalled more words from a previously viewed list when low-amplitude electrical stimulation was delivered to the brain. One patient reported that it was easier to picture the words in his mind for remembering.

“The most exciting finding of this research is that our memory for language information can be improved by directly stimulating this underexplored brain area,” says Michal Kucewicz, Ph.D., a Mayo Clinic researcher in the Department of Neurology and co-first author. Dr. Kucewicz compares the stimulation to “tickling” the brain.

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