Traumatic brain injury (TBI) has disabled 1 to 2% of the population, and one of their most common disabilities is problems with short-term memory. Electrical stimulation has emerged as a viable tool to improve brain function in people with other neurological disorders.
Now, a new study in the journal Brain Stimulation shows that targeted electrical stimulation in patients with traumatic brain injury led to an average 19% boost in recalling words.
Led by University of Pennsylvania psychology professor Michael Jacob Kahana, a team of neuroscientists studied TBI patients with implanted electrodes, analyzed neural data as patients studied words, and used a machine learning algorithm to predict momentary memory lapses. Other lead authors included Wesleyan University psychology professor Youssef Ezzyat and Penn research scientist Paul Wanda.
“The last decade has seen tremendous advances in the use of brain stimulation as a therapy for several neurological and psychiatric disorders including epilepsy, Parkinson’s disease, and depression,” Kahana says. “Memory loss, however, represents a huge burden on society. We lack effective therapies for the 27 million Americans suffering.”
Read the full story in Penn Today.
Michael Kahana is the Edmund J. and Louise W. Kahn Term Professor of Psychology at the University of Pennsylvania. He is a member of the Penn Bioengineering Graduate Group.