Electric current boosts memory

29 August 2014

A new study has found that stimulating the brain with an electrical current using magnetic pulses can improve memory.

The research conducted at Northwestern Medicine hopes to offer potential for new treatments for patients suffering from memory impairments, such as stroke or early-stage Alzheimer's disease.

Published in the Science journal, the study is the first to discover that a collection of regions in the brain are involved when remembering events. These areas must work with the hippocampus and the electrical stimulation helps the different regions work closer together.

It is hoped the approach could also offer hope for treating mental disorders such as schizophrenia, where these regions of the brain and hippocampus are out of sync, which affects the memory and cognition.

"We show for the first time that you can specifically change memory functions of the brain in adults without surgery or drugs, which have not proven effective," said senior author Joel Voss, assistant professor of medical social sciences at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine. 

"This non-invasive stimulation improves the ability to learn new things. It has tremendous potential for treating memory disorders."

Posted by Philip Briggs​

 

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