An accidental breakthrough made during experimental brain surgery may help doctors unlock how memory works, the Times of London reports.

Doctors at Toronto Western Hospital in Ontario said while performing surgery to help a 50-year-old obese man control his appetite, they discovered a way to stimulate his memory, instead.

Doctors pushed electrodes deep into the man's hypothalamus, the brain's appetite-control center, and stimulated it with an electric current.

But instead of losing his desire for food, the man was able to recall — in vivid detail — memories of an experience from 30 years earlier, the Times reported.

"We knew immediately this was important," said professor Andres Lozano, the lead researcher at the Toronto Western Hospital.

"We are sufficiently intrigued to see if this could help people with memory disorders. We know very little about the circuitry of memory. This might give us some insight.''

As a result, scientists are looking at the possibility of a "pacemaker" for the brain, according to the report.

If successful, it could offer hope to the millions of people who suffer from Alzheimer's disease.

Click here to read more on this story from the Times of London Online.