Short-term (“working”) memory is crucial for a range of cognitive activities, ranging from reading to counting and more. As we, say, read a sentence, groups of brain neurons fire in coordinated ways to create brain waves to hold words in working memory as long as we need them to comprehend the sentence. As we age, these coordinated brain waves begin to fall out of sync, causing short-term memory to falter.
Recently published research demonstrated that applying jolts of weak electrical current can synchronize waves in the prefrontal and temporal cortex—two brain areas critical for cognition. The experimental subjects were 42 healthy people in their 60s and 70s. On associated visual recognition tests, the subjects improved their test performance for about an hour. A control group had current applied to different brain areas and did not show any test improvement. Interestingly, applying current to produce “chatter” in the brains of young people in their 20’s reduced their test performance.
Below are four media articles on the work:
Zapping elderly brains with electricity improves short-term memory—for almost an hour
Scientists reverse memory decline using electrical pulses
Could Transcranial Brain Stimulation Help Sharpen Memory?
Brain zaps boost memory in people over 60
Here is the Boston University press release on the work:
As Memories Fade, Can We Supercharge Them Back to Life?
Here is a link to the research article:
Working memory revived in older adults by synchronizing rhythmic brain circuits
All links have been added to Neuro-Psych.