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Title    Researchers Boost Human Mental Function with Brain Stimulation
Date    Wednesday November 24, @07:05AM
Author    janrinok
from the powers-for-Algernon dept.

upstart writes:

Researchers boost human mental function with brain stimulation:

In a pilot human study, researchers from the University of Minnesota Medical School and Massachusetts General Hospital show it is possible to improve specific human brain functions related to self-control and mental flexibility by merging artificial intelligence with targeted electrical brain stimulation.

[...] The findings come from a human study conducted at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston among 12 patients undergoing brain surgery for epilepsy — a procedure that places hundreds of tiny electrodes throughout the brain to record its activity and identify where seizures originate.

In this study, Widge collaborated with Massachusetts General Hospital's Sydney Cash, MD, PhD, an expert in epilepsy research; and Darin Dougherty, MD, an expert in clinical brain stimulation. Together, they identified a brain region — the internal capsule — that improved patients' mental function when stimulated with small amounts of electrical energy. That part of the brain is responsible for cognitive control — the process of shifting from one thought pattern or behavior to another, which is impaired in most mental illnesses.

"An example might include a person with depression who just can't get out of a 'stuck' negative thought. Because it is so central to mental illness, finding a way to improve it could be a powerful new way to treat those illnesses," Widge said.

Journal Reference:
Ishita Basu, Ali Yousefi, Britni Crocker, et al. Closed-loop enhancement and neural decoding of cognitive control in humans, Nature Biomedical Engineering (DOI: 10.1038/s41551-021-00804-y)

Original Submission


  1. "upstart" -
  2. "Researchers boost human mental function with brain stimulation" -
  3. "10.1038/s41551-021-00804-y" -
  4. "Original Submission" -

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