Brain stimulation can boost memory of older people, a new research finds

One of the unfortunate realities of life is that we tend to become more forgetful as we age. For certainly, ageing can become a serious problem for older people particularly when it results in memory loss.

However, amidst the worrisome situation, medical scientists have found one probable solution to the crisis. Now according to a team of scientists at Boston University, memory can be boosted through brain stimulation activity.

Yes, although appearing complicated, nonetheless is a viable way of tackling the ageing problem in adults!

The participants in the study were exposed to “working memory” stimulation for about 50 minutes. Once the experiment concluded, the results were documented and to the researchers’ surprise, the findings are groundbreaking.

Brain Stimulation & Working Memory

Before digging deeper into the findings of the research, let us pause to consider what working memory essentially is. For doctors, it is generally described as the “sketch pad” of the brain. In other words, whatever you sketch on the pad is stored to be there with you.

While you may think of the sketch pad as an A4 page, your working memory has a  far bigger storage than you perceive. When you do some math calculations, you are using this part of the brain to help in finding the answer. Or, say, you want to cherish the time when you first went to school, you are making use of working memory.

The unfortunate side tells us that working memory declines with age. However, for the scientists associated with Boston University, there is a way out: through brain stimulation.

How the brain stimulation works is as complicated as the word itself sounds. The scientists, first, observed the brainwaves in the temporal and prefrontal region. What they noted was that in older people, the waves tend to desynchronies or become out of place. Consequently, resulting in a blurred memory.

With the help of electric stimulation and current, the research team was able to synchronies the brain waves back.

Were the results positive?

For the older participants involved in the study, yes, the results did turn out to be positive. Their accuracy in memorizing stuff pre and during the stimulation were drastically different. They were able to recall stuff more vividly. For example, when asked to play the spot-the-difference game, the older participants did manage to perform decently.

Despite, the research providing with substantial room to be optimistic, the limitations are nevertheless equally important. First and foremost, the study was conducted on a group of only 80 participants. To arrive at a more concrete judgement, a larger observational study is required, What that really means is that, we should wait for more future research before generalizing the effects of brain stimulation.

On the other hand, the brain stimulation lasted for 50 minutes and results were noted accordingly within the time frame. Scientists are unsure if the impact is likely to last on a longer term basis.

The research study conducted by scientists at  Boston University can certainly be deemed as revolutionary. It can potentially change the lifestyle of older individuals who are more prone to memory loss. All that being said, only time will tell about the future prospect and implications of the research.


Areeba Hussain

Areeba is an independent medical and healthcare writer. For the last three years, she is writing for Tophealthjournal. Her prime areas of interest are diseases, medicine, treatments, and alternative therapies. Twitter @Areeba94789300

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