Zapping the brain REVERSES age-related memory loss in older people, as scientists claim they could no longer tell retirees treated except younger people
- Researchers in Illinois, USA, tested 16 people aged 64-80 years
- They found that their brains were restored to a younger adult after five days
- Current is directed to the hippocampus, which controls memories and emotions.
Zapping older people's brains could sharpen their memories so that they were as good as those who were decades younger.
Researchers found that stimulating a particular part of the brain increased memory for over the 64s who usually had age-related memory loss.
It worked so well that the researchers didn't see any difference in the test results from volunteers who had had therapy and younger and healthier adults.
The results are the latest in numerous medical trials to delve into the benefits of electrical stimulation on the brain.
Just two weeks ago, a similar study that found zapping the brain over the 60's found restoration of their memory to the people of the twenties.
Electrical stimulation worked so well in one experiment, said senior investigator that there was no difference in the test results from people who had had therapy and younger, healthier adults (19659016) Researchers at Northwestern University in Illinois tested the effects of using electrical currents directed at the brain's hippocampus.
Their 16 participants were aged between 64 and 80 years of age and had normal levels of memory problems at their age.
After five days of having their brain zapped with low-level electrical currents for 20 minutes a day, Eir's memory capability was on a par with people younger.
& # 39; Elderly people's memory improved to the level we could no longer tell them from younger people, & # 39; said senior researcher, dr. Joel Voss.
& # 39; They got considerably better. & # 39;
Before the electrical therapy – called transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) – over 64 years, 15 percent worse in memory testing than 18 to 34 years old.
In the first round, they scored 40%. computer-based tasks that instructed them to remember specific compound relationships between objects in a test.
Younger participants scored 55%. in the previous study, but the score was just after the TMS therapy.
TMS increased activity in the parietal lobe which controls the hippocampus – it cannot be directly stimulated because it is too deep inside the organ.
Creating new memories, learning, and emotional control are all features that are affected by the hippocampus, which the researchers target just across the left ear.
HOW CAN YOU ZAPPING BRAIN BOOST MEMORY?
All activities in the brain, including the formation and retrieval of memories, are controlled by electrical impulses.
If these electrical signals are interrupted or diminished, it may affect the ability of others to make new memories or remember old ones.  Researchers in a Boston University study – released this month in the journal Nature Neuroscience – found older people's brainwaves out of rhythm between two parts of the brain that control short-term memory.
When brain areas – the early lobe and the prefrontal cortex – were stimulated with electrical currents, the researchers said these brain waves could be synchronized, potentially improving memory formation.
Alzheimer's disease occurs when proteins build up in the brain causing nerve damage, reducing how much vital electrical signals travel through the brain.
Therefore, finding new ways to encourage brain activity – which slowly dies and breaks down into dementia patients – could help restore function or lower the decline.
In research they published last year, Dr. Voss and his team the same therapy – delivered using a metal coil placed against the scalp – of 16 under 34 years of age without memory problems, which they used as a comparison in this study. 19659009]. Dr. Voss is not sure how long the effects can last, but hopes to test it in people with mild cognitive impairment – a precursor to Alzheimer's disease.
At that time, he said: & # 39; If you think of the brain's memory network that generates an activity unit every time it tries to remember an image, brain stimulation made it the same type of image would generate two activity units .
& # 39; This increase in activity means stimulation of increased excitability – and this is important because excitability is a marker of good memory formation. & # 39;
A study released earlier this month found people in their 60's could have their memories restored to be as good as humans in their 20's by electric currents.
In the spot-the-difference test, sexagenarians performed as well as the twentieth things after stimulating the early and frontal parts of their brains.
This research was conducted by Boston University, where researchers said it could lead a headset to "turbo" the missing memories of older people.
Cardiac waves connecting different parts of the brain proved to be out of sync in older people, but then synchronized again by the electric currents.
Dr. Robert Reinhart, who led the study, said: "These results are important because they not only give us new insights into the brain basis of age-related
& but they also show that the negative age-related changes are not immutable – that we can bring back the superior working memory function we had when we were much younger.
Today's research at Northwestern University is published in Neurology, the medical journal of the American Academy of Neurology.