Just HOW Badly Do You Need that A in Math?

Image: Colourbox.com
Image: Colourbox.com

Are you struggling in math? Have you ever considered what extremes you might go through to get those taxes done accurately? Or to balance your checkbook? Perhaps you need to finish up that statistical comparison of two backyard weather stations for your next GeekMom review.

Have you considered electrical stimulation to improve those skills? Roi Cohen Kadosh’s team at Oxford University has proven that it’s possible.

In 2010 researchers at Oxford University in the United Kingdom discovered that gentle electrical stimulations to the brain can help humans retain basic math functions. This was studied with a group receiving the stimulations while performing arbitrary, invented mathematical-type tasks and was reported in November 2010 in the journal Current Biology.

This month, many members of the same team, including Roi Cohen Kadosh, reported on their continuation of the study that repeated the 2010 experiment on a different group of patients: for 5 days, the patients either received real or false electrical stimulations while performing the math tasks. Those who received the real stimulations were performing the math tasks two to five times faster than those without. In addition, the group was assessed at the six-month point after the experiment completion and it was discovered that the skills were retained in those who were electrically stimulated. This shows a long term promise for such an extreme-sounding treatment.

Click through the link here to read more about the study and its implications for helping those with cognitive disorders such as Alzheimer’s. Math Skills Improved By Electric Shocks To Brain, Study Suggests.

What do you think? Would you do it? Do you think this might apply to other cognitive functions, such as memorizing passages from Hamlet?

Patricia Vollmer is the proud mother of two emerging geek sons, ages 12 & 15. She is a meteorologist with the Air Force Reserve and is currently assigned to the U.S. Air Force Academy. Patricia blogs about her family's nomadic military life at Ground Control to Major Mom. Home is always where the Air Force sends her family, which is currently in Colorado Springs, Colorado. Hobbies include running, despite no one chasing her, sharing her love for Disney and Star Wars, and exploring the world with her boys. Ask her why the sky is blue at your own risk.