Direct Electrical Stimulation of the Human Entorhinal Region and Hippocampus Impairs Memory

Neuron. 2016 Dec 7;92(5):983-990. doi: 10.1016/j.neuron.2016.10.062.


Deep brain stimulation (DBS) has shown promise for treating a range of brain disorders and neurological conditions. One recent study showed that DBS in the entorhinal region improved the accuracy of human spatial memory. Based on this line of work, we performed a series of experiments to more fully characterize the effects of DBS in the medial temporal lobe on human memory. Neurosurgical patients with implanted electrodes performed spatial and verbal-episodic memory tasks. During the encoding periods of both tasks, subjects received electrical stimulation at 50 Hz. In contrast to earlier work, electrical stimulation impaired memory performance significantly in both spatial and verbal tasks. Stimulation in both the entorhinal region and hippocampus caused decreased memory performance. These findings indicate that the entorhinal region and hippocampus are causally involved in human memory and suggest that refined methods are needed to use DBS in these regions to improve memory.

Keywords: deep brain stimulation; entorhinal cortex; hippocampus; memory; navigation; theta oscillation.

Publication types

  • Video-Audio Media

MeSH terms

  • Deep Brain Stimulation*
  • Entorhinal Cortex / physiology*
  • Epilepsy
  • Hippocampus / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Memory / physiology
  • Spatial Memory / physiology*
  • Task Performance and Analysis