Electric shock treatment can boost learning ability
Transcranial Direct Current Stimulation (TDCS) is a process in which small electric currents are passed through the brain, otherwise known as electric shock treatment or therapy.
TDCS is most often used as a treatment for patients with cognitive impairment, usually the result of a stroke or brain injury.
However, following research which was carried out at the University of Oxford, researchers and psychologists now believe that TDCS could help to improve our learning ability and concentration and problem solving functions.
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At a cost of £500 portable devices which administer this electric shock treatment are available to those looking to improve their academic lifestyle.
The researchers from Oxford University’s Department of Experimental Psychology found that the effects usually lasted around 12 months.
“The idea is to stimulate the brain in order to make it easier to learn new information such as maths,” said the leader of the research, Dr Roi Cohen Kadosh.
“What we find with adults is that the improvement is not only in maths but actually in language, attention and decision making – they not only become better for a short time, but for long periods.
“It is not a magic pill like you might find in Hollywood movies, it’s not going to make you Einstein in one day – you still need to work hard – but together with that it makes an enhancement to your performance.”
Although the team behind the study are confident there are no negative side effects from TDCS, it has attracted some criticism from health experts.
On area of concern is the fact that the TDCS machines are available to buy and use privately, meaning their use will not be regulated.
It is thought misuse of the electric shock therapy equipment could cause some brain damage.
Despite this, the researchers have stated in their report that TDCS should only be used to their recommended guidelines.
Writing in the journal of Current Biology, they said: “When used within suggested guidelines, the acute safety risks (of seizures, for example) seem very low.”
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