Feeds

Magno stimulation makes brain learn skills better - boffins

Bonce-bothering breakthrough in British Columbia

Build a business case: developing custom apps

Canadian brainbox brainboxes have found that cunningly targeted "magnetic stimulation" of the brain can help test subjects to learn manual skills.

A subject undergoing magnetic brain stimulation

Thinks: Soon I shall be INVINCIBLE

Lara Boyd and Meghan Linsdell of the University of British Columbia have published the results of their research into the brain's dorsal premotor cortex region (termed PMd by boffins) and its role in learning to accomplish skilled work with one's hands. They say that "repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation" can improve "continuous motor learning".

Specifically, the duo had a group of human test subjects try to master the ability to track a target on a computer screen using a joystick. Some had their noggins magnetised before each session, others didn't - but they had no idea which group they were in as the non-stimulated candidates were given a "sham" blast to the head from the magno stim rig.

In order to check specifically for "learned motor memory" - as opposed to the effects of practice and familiarity with the experimental rig - part of the target's movements were a non-random repeated pattern, while the rest of each session saw it move randomly. The test subjects didn't know this, thinking the entire period to consist of random movements.

According to Boyd and Linsdell, the magnetic bonce-zapping caused test subjects to perform much better than the others during the repeated non-random section of the tests.

"Our data support the hypothesis that the PMd is important for continuous motor learning, specifically via off-line consolidation of learned motor behaviors," the two boffins note.

Their paper Excitatory repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation to left dorsal premotor cortex enhances motor consolidation of new skills is published in draft courtesy of BMC Neuroscience here (pdf). ®

Boost IT visibility and business value

More from The Register

next story
Just TWO climate committee MPs contradict IPCC: The two with SCIENCE degrees
'Greenhouse effect is real, but as for the rest of it ...'
Asteroid's DINO KILLING SPREE just bad luck – boffins
Sauricide WASN'T inevitable, reckon scientists
Flamewars in SPAAACE: cooler fires hint at energy efficiency
Experiment aboard ISS shows we should all chill out for cleaner engines
Brit amateur payload set to complete full circle around PLANET EARTH
Ultralight solar radio tracker in glorious 25,000km almost-space odyssey
NASA Mars rover FINALLY equals 1973 Soviet benchmark
Yet to surpass ancient Greek one, however
Famous 'Dish' radio telescope to be emptied in budget crisis: CSIRO
Radio astronomy suffering to protect Square Kilometre Array
BEST BATTERY EVER: All lithium, all the time, plus a dash of carbon nano-stuff
We have found the Holy Grail (of batteries) - boffins
prev story

Whitepapers

Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
Why and how to choose the right cloud vendor
The benefits of cloud-based storage in your processes. Eliminate onsite, disk-based backup and archiving in favor of cloud-based data protection.
The Essential Guide to IT Transformation
ServiceNow discusses three IT transformations that can help CIO's automate IT services to transform IT and the enterprise.
Maximize storage efficiency across the enterprise
The HP StoreOnce backup solution offers highly flexible, centrally managed, and highly efficient data protection for any enterprise.