zap + zap = math?

Schoolchildren who struggle to grasp mathematics could benefit from having their brains zapped with electricity, scientists say.

A study of university students found that gentle electrical stimulation to the rear of the brain boosted their ability to learn and use numbers for up to six months.

The findings could lead to new treatments for children and adults who fail to master mathematics because of learning disabilities, or mental impairments caused by stroke or neurodegenerative disease.

“I am certainly not advising people to go around giving themselves electric shocks, but we are extremely excited by the potential of our findings,” said Roi Cohen Kadosh, a neuroscientist at Oxford University.

“We’ve shown before that we can temporarily induce dyscalculia [a mathematical disability], and now it seems we might also be able to make someone better at maths. Electrical stimulation will most likely not turn you into Albert Einstein, but if we’re successful, it might be able to help some people to cope better with maths.”

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