Electric Currents May Improve Short-Term Memory In Schizophrenia

Jose Florez

A new study of the brain is providing researchers with some rather electrifying results.

According to a Johns Hopkins University study, light brain stimulation utilizing solely electric currents may treat short-term memory problems in patients with schizophrenia. The chronic mental illness is responsible for distorting the brain's thinking and cognition. However, with the new study, researchers are starting to feel good about new potential treatment.

David Schretlen, Ph.D., a professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, spoke on how brain stimulation can ease up symptoms of cognitive problems as a result of schizophrenia.

Schretlen stated,

"Cognitive impairment is as ubiquitous as hallucinations in schizophrenia, yet medications only treat the hallucinations. So even with medication, affected individuals often remain very disabled."

The area of the brain for short-term memory located in the left dorsolateral prefrontal cortex was where both charges were initiated. Researchers conducted a procedure known as "transcranial direct current stimulation" where scientists placed sponge-covered electrodes on the patient's head, passing weak electric currents between them.

With much surprise, the patients who received the negative charge performed significantly better during their verbal and visual memory tests.

Additionally, the theory of the negative charge working best was put to the test by giving patients one minute to list items they could buy in a supermarket. Nevertheless, Schretlen found that the patients with schizophrenia did much better at the difficult task of shifting from one category of items to the next following a negative charge.

As a matter of fact, the effectiveness of the electric charge was proven to be so strong that researchers are suggesting it may also be used to treat depression, stroke recovery, and even Alzheimer's disease, India Times reports.

Researchers believe more tests with brain stimulation could provide more tenacious treatment for those suffering from the illness' cognitive adversities. Likewise, as seen from the study's results, new treatment for depression and Alzheimer's disease could be on the way as scientists are getting closer to hitting the nail on the head.

"The researchers are continuing to test TDCS in even more patients with repeated sessions to see if it provides long-lasting benefits.

"If [TDCS] enables people with schizophrenia to think more clearly, it would make a huge contribution to the treatment of this devastating illness."

"If [TDCS] enables people with schizophrenia to think more clearly, it would make a huge contribution to the treatment of this devastating illness."