Electrical therapy trialled on children

News University News

A research team from Oxford Neuroscience will be applying an electrical current to children’s brains to see if it makes them better at learning maths.

Dr Roi Cohen Kadosh, a Junior Research Fellow in Psychology at Jesus College and Wellcome Research Career Development Fellow at Oxford Neuroscience will be leading the study having successfully demonstrated the technique with adults.

The study will involve non-invasive stimulation of the parietal lobe of the brain while the participants are completing maths tests in order to determine whether it is possible to selectively improve numerical ability.

In the previous study Dr Cohen Kadosh found that the electric current had the potential to specifically enhance a subject’s ability to process and map numbers, both of which are indicators of numerical proficiency.

Dr Cohen Kadosh said: “The study aims to improve mathematical abilities of those who have a mathematical learning disability.

“If we will find that our method is safe and effective it can lead to new ways to improve mathematical abilities and potentially other learning disabilities.”

Adam Chekroud, a psychologist from New College added: “The potential clinical implications of this work are massive. If they can replicate the effect seen in adults in children then we have an exciting possibility of one day improving children’s mathematical abilities during school years.”

Daniel Yon, from Somerville College said: “As cognitive neuroscience gets closer and closer to identifying what properties make an ‘intelligent brain’, targeted non-invasive interventions like this […] might be a way to enhance everyone across the board”.

The study hopes to establish this technique as a viable and realistic tool for those who experience difficulties with mathematical learning and others who have lost some numerical ability due to stroke or degenerative illnesses.

Dr. Cohen Kadosh welcomes any volunteers for the proposed study.