150 older adults were given low-dose electric impulses to certain parts of their brains for four days in a row. After treatment, most performed better on memory tests than they had previously, and the improvements persisted for up to one month.
Researchers have developed a technique that uses electrical pulses to treat individuals with memory loss. They hope that eventually, this technology will become affordable for home use, and that it will help people with dementia and other memory problems.
The caps electrodes delivered gentle electrical impulses to certain areas of the brain that were previously known to be involved with various types of memory—the stimulation improved participants’ ability to recall words from the start of the list.
Researchers at Boston University found that people who received four days of therapy for Alzheimer’s disease had moderate to significant improvements in their memory one month later.
A no-invasive brain stimulus improved auditory-verbal memory in older adults. The treatment had cumulative benefits, providing significantly more significant benefits than just one.
Research suggests that short-term and long-term memory retention are distinct phenomena and that targeting those memory systems may be beneficial.
Dr. Cameron Carter said the technique could be used to treat schizophrenia and other mental illnesses and could even prevent them.
Transcranial AC stimulation is similar to transcranial magnetic stimulation, but the dose is so low that it is “a modulatory rather than an initiatory approach.”
Cognitive training has shown varying levels of efficacy, but staying engaged socially and intellectually is obviously beneficial to an aging brain. The two researchers’ treatments are supplements, not replacements, to activities that keep the brain engaged.
This study followed individuals only one month after the treatments, but Grover is optimistic that improvements would continue for as long as three months.
The team is still figuring out how personalized the treatment needs to be. Still, they have seen improvements without personalized treatment and are interested in seeing if they can improve performance in healthier individuals.
For more coverage on this story, check the following additional news sources:
- Electric Brain Stimulation Experiment Boosts Memory in Older Adults ScienceAlert
- Using Electricity, Researchers Find Surprising Memory Results Psychology Today
- Can you improve memory? Brain stimulation could make a ‘moderate to large’ difference, study shows. USA TODAY
- Electrically Zapping Specific Brain Regions Can Boost Memory The Scientist
- New study suggests brain-zapping cap improves short-term memory loss in older adults Fox News