Can Transcranial Direct Current Stimulation And Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation Improve Memory?

773 words - 4 pages

Transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS) and transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS), are non-invasive, painless brain stimulation that uses electrical currents to stimulate specific parts of the brain. With tDCS a constant, low intensity current, powered by a nine volt battery, is passed through two electrodes placed over the head which modulates neuronal activity. Transcranial direct current has two types of stimulation: anodal and cathodal. Anodal stimulation excite neuronal activity while cathodal stimulation inhibits or reduces neuronal activity. TMS is similar to tDCS, but uses an insolated electromagnetic coil that passes a pulse of current through the cranium to stimulate ...view middle of the document...

The novice averages detecting one to two images correctly during the baseline test. Weisach then applies tDCS to the medial temporal lobes, the same as where the experts have heightened activity, and then gives them an hour of training. After this hour of training they are tested again for pattern recognition. The results are remarkably different. The novice can now correctly detect the majority of enemy locations. They are performing at the expert level, with only an hour of training. The noteworthy thing is that even after the tDCS has exhausted its effect on the brain, the new skill is virtually permanent. This has been confirmed by fMRI scans. The novice now possesses the same level of activation as the expert (Baillie & Freeman, 2012).
This was not the first time the Air Force had done studies of tDCS and TMS. In 2007, a report on the feasibility of TMS was conducted for the purpose of enhancing warfighter mental abilities. It was recommended to the Air Force Research Laboratory to invest resources in such efforts. While this area of study was just at its beginning, the Air Force saw great potential. What caught their eye were several experiments that showed acceleration of memory, learning, improvement recovery time from sleep deprivation, the reduction of symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and UAV operations. The 2007 studies primarily focused on TMS, but they saw the...

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