Lightly stimulating the brain with electricity may improve short-term memory in people with schizophrenia, according to a new study by researchers at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine.

The procedure, known as transcranial direct current stimulation, involves placing sponge-covered electrodes on the head and passing a weak electrical current between them. It is widely regarded as safe, and the procedure is being studied as a treatment for depression and Alzheimer’s-related memory loss, and to enhance recovery following strokes.

David Schretlen, PhD, a professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, reasoned that this type of brain stimulation might ease some of the cognitive difficulties that afflict people with schizophrenia.

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