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Studies have shown that electrical brain stimulation improves memory in older people

In the US, studies have been conducted that have shown that weak electrical brain stimulation can improve memory in older people. This works for both short and long term memory and the effect lasts for about a month.

The studies were carried out at Boston University, where they used the technique of transcranial alternating current stimulation (tACS). Electrodes are attached to the head and transmit weak electrical impulses. This, as studies show, improves connections between areas of the brain and has a beneficial effect on memory. The research was led by Rob Reinhart.

The study stimulated parts of the prefrontal cortex in the front of the brain, which is responsible for long-term memory. They also stimulated the lower parietal lobe in the back of the brain, which is responsible for short-term memory. For the first, high frequencies were used, for the second, low ones.

The experiment involved 60 volunteers aged 65 to 88 years, they were divided into 3 groups. The first third were stimulated only in the prefrontal cortex, the second – in the parietal lobe, and the third was not stimulated at all. The task was to reproduce a list of 20 words that were read to the participants.

Those who received stimulation, according to Reinhart, felt only “a slight tingle, itching, or warmth.” Each session lasted 20 minutes, they were repeated for 4 days. As a result, it turned out that those who received stimulation remembered words better than those who did without it.

Studies have shown that electrical brain stimulation improves memory in older people

Memorization depended on the stimulation of a particular area of ​​the brain, and in percentage terms, it was about increasing the quality of memorization by 50-65%. These participants in the experiment memorized an average of 4 to 6 additional words from a list of 20. It is important that the type of stimulation should correspond to natural brain waves. Otherwise, there will be no effect.

At the same time, the best indicators were those who demonstrated the worst cognitive functions at the beginning of the study. Researchers believe that this method will help people with Alzheimer’s disease or other types of dementia.

So far, this is only preliminary data, so it is too early to draw full conclusions. However, Marom Bixon, a neuroengineer at the City College of New York who was not involved in the experiment, said the intervention was very short, but had an immediate and very long-term effect. At the same time, he clarified that additional research is needed, but the technology has potential. It can appear in every doctor’s office or even in patients’ homes.

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