Stimulating your brain with magnets can help you remember things

It turns out that small congestions in the brain can help you keep memories.

Accordingly, while exploring the way we forget everything, researchers accidentally found a way to stimulate better memory among participants in a recent study. published in the journal PLOS Biology.

But we are still years away from turning these findings into valid, marketable research.

The soft “stocks” of the brain tend to improve memory performance

The experiment was originally conducted in 2012, if you can believe it. At that time, it was designed to investigate the role of the left dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (DLPFC) in voluntary forgetting. The experiment successfully showed how intentional forgetting is actively managed by DLPFC, but the data has a hidden bonus feature. And a recent follow-up analysis showed that stimulating that part of the brain with a specific frequency of magnetic stimulation as we study new material actually helps us retain new knowledge later. “We were quite surprised to see these effects in the first study, which looked at a different issue,” said Simon Hanslmeier, a cognitive neurologist at the University of Glasgow.

To test the results, the researchers conducted a second experiment involving 24 healthy adults, in which they presented two lists of 10 words each, which were asked by about twenty people to remember. The two lists of 10 words were shown separately a dozen times. After a short task created to distract the participants, the team of participants was asked to recall all the words from the two lists they had just seen. Then, as participants returned the words back to the researchers, half of them were besieged with one hertz of slowly repeating transcranial magnetic stimulation (rTMS) directly into their prefrontal cortex. The other half of the participants received one hertz rTMS, but to the top of the head.

Magnetic stimulation of DLPFC may help in future treatments for dementia

No stinging sensations were reported. But compared to the participants in the control group, people who received magnetic stimulation to DLPFC more recalled words with greater accuracy. In particular, although stimulation has no visible effect by helping participants memorize the order of the words, it helps them to remember each word, albeit out of order. Researchers say we should take this with a grain of salt, as a recent study included only two dozen healthy adults. But the recent study is in line with earlier findings from the 2014 study and also supports other studies that examine DLPFC and its function in memory formation.

Earlier studies that actively stimulated DLPFC showed a decline in memory performance, but rTMS is the hallmark. This is a slow type of stimulation that tends to inhibit most of the barkinstead of exciting him. The inhibitory nature of rTMS has recently emerged as an exciting new treatment for potentially calming the minds of people with major depressive disorder. This ability to inhibit the cortex can even pulsate outward from the DLPFC to an adjacent area of ​​the brain called the parietal cortex. This part of the brain plays a role in perception and attention, and when activity is reduced here, our ability to focus and perform memory retention exercises improves, according to brain imaging studies. “Our electrophysiological results show that frontal stimulation affects a wider network and improves memory formation by inhibiting parietal areas,” said University of Glasgow neurologist Mitze van der Plas. a A warning to science report. Although these effects are very compelling, especially in the search for potential treatments for the side effects of major depression, and maybe even dementia, the results of this study need further analysis, verification and expansion, above all to be able to be designed and one day to appear on the market.

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