Neuroscience: Brain stimulation improves memory for at least one month

In a study involving people aged 65 and older, 20 minutes of electrical stimulation to the brain on four consecutive days improved two types of memory for at least a month, according to a research paper.Nature Neurosciencewill be published inThis noninvasive method of enhancing memory could help improve daily activities in a rapidly aging global population.

You need working memory to remember some information for a short time (for example, which platform the train you're planning to take departs from). Remembering is an example of long-term memory.Working memory and long-term memory performance vary greatly between individuals and tend to decline with age.

Robert Reinhart and colleagues conducted an experiment aimed at improving working and long-term memory in 150 participants aged 65-88.Participants wore a cap with electrodes embedded in it, listened to a list of 20 words read aloud, and then performed an immediate recall task, during which an electrical current was passed through the electrodes in the cap. .There are 5 types of this list. Building on results from previous studies, Reinhart et al. targeted two brain regions and applied electrical stimulation at two different frequencies.As a result, 2-Hz electrical stimulation to the inferior parietal lobule improved recall of words contained in the last part of the list (reflecting that they were stored in working memory). 2-Hz electrical stimulation of the prefrontal cortex improved recall of words contained in the first part of the list (reflecting their storage in long-term memory).Participants with the lowest cognitive performance at the start of the study benefited the most from electrical brain stimulation.

To find out whether these effects last longer than a month and whether these specific methods can enhance memory function in people with cognitive impairment due to brain disease or at risk of dementia. needs further research.

doi: 10.1038 / s41593-022-01132-3
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Reprinted from: "Neuroscience: Electrical brain stimulation improves memory for at least a month'

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