New research has suggested that magnets may offer a new way to boost mental performance. Scientists have shown that stimulating the brains of mice with a magnetic coil promotes the growth of neurons.
Now if this effect is confirmed in humans as well, it could lead to new treatments for age-related memory decline and diseases like Alzheimer’s.
This technique known as Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS) has often been used experimentally to probe the working of the brain and to treat certain disorders such as schizophrenia and depression.
TMS induces electric fields in the brain using a magnetic coil. These have the effect of activating or deactivating groups of neuron.
The latest research was conducted by Dr.Fortunato Battaglia and his colleagues at the City University of New York. The research involved exposing mice to TMS for five days before examining their brains.
Dr.Battaglia’s team saw large increases in the proliferation of stem cells- immature cells that go on to develop into nerves and other kinds of tissues- in a part of the brain called the dentate gyrus hippocampus.
These cells, which divide throughout one’s life, are believed to play a very important rule in memory and mood regulation.