Transcranial magnetic Stimulation, improves memory. Maybe.

3 Sep

A recent paper, in the prestigious journal Science, reports that transcranial magnetic stimulation may improve memory. Unfortunately, the article is behind a pay wall so I am unable to present a critical analysis. Here is the abstract:

“The influential notion that the hippocampus supports associative memory by interacting with functionally distinct and distributed brain regions has not been directly tested in humans. We therefore used targeted noninvasive electromagnetic stimulation to modulate human cortical-hippocampal networks and tested effects of this manipulation on memory. Multiple-session stimulation increased functional connectivity among distributed cortical-hippocampal network regions and concomitantly improved associative memory performance. These alterations involved localized long-term plasticity because increases were highly selective to the targeted brain regions, and enhancements of connectivity and associative memory persisted for ~24 hours after stimulation. Targeted cortical-hippocampal networks can thus be enhanced noninvasively, demonstrating their role in associative memory.”

From Science Daily here is a journalistic account of the research:

“Stimulating a region in the brain via non-invasive delivery of electrical current using magnetic pulses, called Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation, improves memory. The discovery opens a new field of possibilities for treating memory impairments caused by conditions such as stroke, early-stage Alzheimer’s disease, traumatic brain injury, cardiac arrest and the memory problems that occur in healthy aging.”

However, there has been some criticism of these findings (hat tip to Retraction Watch)

 

Electric Current to Brain Boosts Memory from Northwestern News on Vimeo.

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