OCT 19, 2017 7:02 AM PDT

Can Nerve Stimulation Improve Learning?


When the brain has to learn new skills and adapt to new environments, that process is called "neuroplasticity." It's crucial to learning and retaining information. Scientists at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, have received a grant from the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) to look at ways to improve this brain function and possibly even speed it up.

Using stimulation of the nerves peripheral to the brain, in the head and neck area, the team of medical engineers, neuroscientists and medical professionals at UW-M hope to show that learning can be enhanced with stimulators along the key nerves that surround the brain. It's a technique that's similar to what acupuncturists do. It's been known for decades that stimulating these nerves can boost neuromodulators in the brain like dopamine, norepinephrine and serotonin. These can then improve neuron connections and speed up the time it takes to learn a new task or familiarize oneself with a new environment. This ability would be especially valuable for military service members.
About the Author
  • I'm a writer living in the Boston area. My interests include cancer research, cardiology and neuroscience. I want to be part of using the Internet and social media to educate professionals and patients in a collaborative environment.
You May Also Like
OCT 24, 2020
Space & Astronomy
The Closest Black Hole to Earth Isn't a Black Hole After All
OCT 24, 2020
The Closest Black Hole to Earth Isn't a Black Hole After All
Earlier this year, astronomers reportedly identified the 'closest black hole to Earth every discovered'. However ...
DEC 03, 2020
Chemistry & Physics
3-D Printed, Realistic Heart Model for Training Future Physicians
DEC 03, 2020
3-D Printed, Realistic Heart Model for Training Future Physicians
Building a realistic tissue model is critical for training young physicians and surgeons, and yet challenging due to the ...
DEC 11, 2020
Chemistry & Physics
Cosmic Expansion: Universe Stretches, We don't
DEC 11, 2020
Cosmic Expansion: Universe Stretches, We don't
Physicists believe that we exist in an expanding universe. But what does that mean? Do our habitats, bodies, and atoms & ...
APR 12, 2021
Space & Astronomy
5,200 Tons of Space Dust Fall to Earth Each Year
APR 12, 2021
5,200 Tons of Space Dust Fall to Earth Each Year
An international team of scientists has found that each year, 5,200 tons of dust falls from space to Earth. This far out ...
JUN 17, 2021
Space & Astronomy
Chinese Astronauts Will Live on New Space Station for 3 Months
JUN 17, 2021
Chinese Astronauts Will Live on New Space Station for 3 Months
Astronauts aboard China’s first manned spacecraft in almost five years have reached the new Tiangong space station ...
JUL 13, 2021
Earth & The Environment
Artificial Lighting Disrupts Pollinating Insects' Vision
JUL 13, 2021
Artificial Lighting Disrupts Pollinating Insects' Vision
Artificial lighting can affect the eyesight of moths that rely on night-time vision, such as the elephant hawkmoth. The ...
Loading Comments...