By Dr. Brian McDonough

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – It is called transcranial direct current stimulation and researchers are using the technique to look at and control the activity of specific brain regions in awake individuals so that they can study what those brain regions actually do. By passing specific types of current through the brain regions known as the anterior temporal lobes, researchers were able to measure problem solving ability in people.

Thirty participants were asked to solve logical problems while the researchers increased the activity of one particular brain region and decreased the activity of another one. Only 20% of unstimulated participants solved the most difficult problem in the 6 minutes allowed as opposed to 60% of those whose brain activities were modified by the electric stimulation. The work was done at Oxford.

Reported By Dr. Brian McDonough, KYW Newsradio Medical Editor (photo)

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