Human ability to memorize onfor a short time, a small piece of information (for example, the conditions of a mathematical problem) necessary for its further processing is characterized by a working memory. It, in turn, is directly related to short-term and long-term memory and provides the ability to think logically, to gain access to everyday information.
After 30 years of activity, working memory beginsdecrease, and by 60-70 years, memory impairment leads to certain difficulties even without severe disorders of brain activity, such as Alzheimer's or Parkinson's.
Experimental Artificial Techniqueelectrostimulation, developed at Boston University, allowed to temporarily “bring back the youth” of the working memory of the elderly. 42 volunteers aged 20-29 years and 42 volunteers aged 60-76 years were tested.
In the first stage, the effectiveness was tested.working memory in both age groups. The expected result was obtained - the older group coped with the task worse. Older people memorized more objects on the test images and then remembered for a longer time what exactly was drawn on the pictures. The scientists hypothesis was that the brain activity (electrical oscillations of neurons) in older people gradually become out of sync. This was confirmed by the EEG.
Scientists have tried to correct brain rhythms withusing non-invasive electrical stimulation. In the course of the experiment, after a 25-minute stimulation of the brain of subjects from the older age group, their performance indicators of working memory improved significantly. Positive effects persisted for 50 minutes after the completion of stimulation. At the same time, volunteers from the younger group were also stimulated. Young people also showed an increase in brain activity.
This graphic illustration demonstrates three brain scans comparing the brain activity of a 20-year-old volunteer, 70-year-old and 70-year-old, subjected to electrical stimulation.
At the next stage, scientists will check how effectively the procedure of electrical stimulation will affect people prone to Alzheimer's or Parkinson's diseases.
Source: nature.com, bu.edu