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Doctors are studying the effects of electrical stimulation on memory
In old age, people often suffer from an increasing loss of memories. This condition can also be caused by head injuries or exacerbated by certain diseases. Researchers have now found that electrical brain stimulation can have a restoring effect on memory.
The University of Pennsylvania researchers found that electrical stimulation of the human brain can positively affect memory and have a restorative effect. The doctors published the results of their study in the journal "Current Biology".
Can brain stimulation also reduce signs of dementia?
The current study has been one of the most extensive projects to date that examines deep brain stimulation for signs of dementia and memory loss, such as head injuries and other traumatic brain injuries. Such injuries are particularly common among soldiers returning from war zones, the experts explain.
Subjects suffered from epilepsy
The study was conducted on a test group of individuals with epilepsy. This disease affects the brain. The investigation involved a series of memory tests in which the participants received stimulation of the areas of the brain that are linked to the memory coding, the scientists explain.
Stimulating the brain in the right state improves memory
After the researchers stimulated the brains of the test subjects in both high and low functional states, the memory improved when stimulated in the low functional state. The results of the tests deteriorated when the stimulation was in an already highly functional state, the University of Pennsylvania authors add in a press release.
Is the timing of stimulation the key to success?
Previous studies on deep brain stimulation have shown mixed results. Some experts came to the conclusion that electrical stimulation of the brain sharpens the memory. Other doctors believed that such stimulation only damaged the brain. The current study enables the conclusion that the timing of the stimulation could be the key.
Further investigations are necessary
Further research is needed, but long-term knowledge could help develop treatment with brain implants that send electrical impulses to the brain. The hope among many neuroscientists is that such applications could help treat symptoms of Alzheimer's, dementia, or other brain injuries, the scientists say.
The results of the study give reason for hope
Targeted electrical impulses can potentially help improve memory performance when used correctly, the researchers explain. So far there is no cure for traumatic brain injuries, but the results of the current study are cause for hope, the authors add. (as)