New Technique Improves Memory in Young and Old

When a person is younger, their memory loss is often written off as plain forgetfulness or due to inattentiveness. Sometimes it’s referred to just having a brain fart.

But when a person gets older, memory loss is often written off as just getting old or the early signs of some form of dementia.

Many things can cause memory loss in the young and old. It can be due to some physical or mental condition, it can be due to a medication or an injury.

The quest to restore memory or reduce memory loss is important to many. That’s why you see so many commercials for products like Prevagen, designed to improve one’s memory. There is also a plethora of brain games, brain quizzes and reports of how certain types of activities help with memory. Personally, I like to do online jigsaw puzzles and Sudoku puzzles as they seem to help keep me mentally alert and sharp.

Regular exercise also helps maintain a sharp mind and memory.

But what would you do if you knew there was a procedure that could help improve your memory, without taking any kind of supplement? What about helping to improve the memory of someone suffering from Alzheimer’s?

If that’s important to you or someone close to you, then you will probably be interested in this report:

“Magnetic stimulation of the brain improves working memory, offering a new potential avenue of therapy for individuals living with Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia, according to new research from the Duke University School of Medicine.”

“Healthy younger and older adult participants who received a therapy called repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation (rTMS) performed better on a memory task than during an rTMS-like placebo in the study, which was published here in PLoS One…”

“Working memory is the process of recalling and then using relevant information while performing a task. It’s a key component of day-to-day tasks like driving to a new location, making a recipe, or following instructions. Individuals with Alzheimer’s disease, which will more than double by 2050, and other forms of dementia, experience progressive loss of working memory and other forms of cognition, leading to a greater risk of injury or death and reducing their ability to function without home care.”

Lysianne Beynel, PhD, a postdoctoral associate in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, commented about the study, saying:

“This study relies on highly individualized parameters, from the selection of the stimulated target, based on fMRI activation, to the selection of the difficulty, titrated according to subjects’ performance. Now that we have shown that these specific parameters can improve performance in healthy subjects, we will be able to extend it to populations with memory deficits.”

Co-author Simon W. Davis, PhD, added:

“Interestingly, we only saw this effect during when participants were trying their hardest, suggesting a real use-it-or-lose it principle at work here. Contrary to much of what we hear, aging brains have a remarkable capability to remember past events and to use that information in a flexible manner. The brain stimulation applied in our study shows that older adults benefited just as much as the young.”

There was no indication of when this process may be available to the general public or how much a session of rTMS will cost, but hopefully it will be soon and not too expensive.

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