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This is really fascinating:
A Canadian study found that DBS (Deep Brain Stimulation) of brain’s hypothalamus unexpectedly prompts detailed memories in a patient.
DBS involves electrical stimulation of targeted brain areas and is used to treat Parkinson’s disease and other movement disorders.
Researchers at the Toronto Western Hospital were testing DBS as a potential appetite suppressant in a dangerously overweight 50-year-old man. When the procedure began, the patient reported a vivid memory of being in a park with friends when he was about 20 years old.
As they increased the electrical stimulation, the memory became more vivid!
The researchers also discovered that after three weeks of continuous stimulation of the hypothalamus, the patient had significant improvements in his results on two learning tests. He was also better able to remember unrelated paired objects during stimulation.
The study authors concluded that “…just as DBS can influence motor and limbic circuits, it may be possible to apply electrical stimulation to modulate memory function and, in doing so, gain a better understanding of the neural substrates of memory.”
The mind boggles at the window of possibilities and hope this discovery opens.
The study was published online in the journal Annals of Neurology.