January 30, 2011
Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation For Learning?

Would you stimulate your brain with a magnetic wave pattern to enhance memory stimulation?

What sounds like science fiction is actually possible: thanks to magnetic stimulation, the activity of certain brain nerve cells can be deliberately influenced. What happens in the brain in this context has been unclear up to now. Medical experts from Bochum under the leadership of Prof. Dr. Klaus Funke (Department of Neurophysiology) have now shown that various stimulus patterns changed the activity of distinct neuronal cell types. In addition, certain stimulus patterns led to rats learning more easily. The knowledge obtained could contribute to cerebral stimulation being used more purposefully in future to treat functional disorders of the brain. The researchers have published their studies in the Journal of Neuroscience and in the European Journal of Neuroscience.

Why overstimulate your brain with amphetamine when you can use magnets instead?

Intermittent theta burst stimulation (iTBS), that's the ticket.

Since the mid-1990's, repetitive TMS has been used to make purposeful changes to the activability of nerve cells in the human cortex: "In general, the activity of the cells drops as a result of a low-frequency stimulation, i.e. with one magnetic pulse per second. At higher frequencies from five to 50 pulses per second, the activity of the cells increases", explained Prof. Funke. Above all, the researchers are specifically addressing with the effects of specific stimulus patterns like the so-called theta burst stimulation (TBS), in which 50 Hz bursts are repeated with 5 Hz. "This rhythm is based on the natural theta rhythm of four to seven Hertz which can be observed in an EEG", says Funke. The effect is above all dependent on whether such stimulus patterns are provided continuously (cTBS, attenuating effect) or with interruptions (intermittent, iTBS, strengthening effect).

The iTBS enhanced rat learning. I'm picturing iTBS labs in colleges that are booked 24x7 leading up to finals.

Share |      Randall Parker, 2011 January 30 10:41 PM  Brain Enhancement

Brett Bellmore said at January 31, 2011 3:53 PM:

Fine, they tell us the frequency. What I want to know is the amplitude. The waveform described is trivially easy to generate, but how am I supposed to design my beanie if I don't know the freaking amplitude I need to generate?

BioBob said at January 31, 2011 6:20 PM:

I vote for transcranial sonic waveforms stimulation, yeh ! -- heavy metal ? nah, classical !!! that's the ticket --- wait wait --- You could use a ball-peen hammer too !

Jim said at February 2, 2011 3:51 PM:

A friend of mine runs an TMS clinic here in San Diego.

Pretty cool stuff-- particulary good for treating depression and anxiety.

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