Tag Archives: Long-term memory

Coffee enhances memory consolidation

16 Dec

Consistent with previous research, a study published in Nature Neuroscience reports that caffeine enhances memory consolidation.

“We used post-study caffeine administration to test its effect on memory consolidation using a behavioral discrimination task. Caffeine enhanced performance 24 h after administration according to an inverted U-shaped dose-response curve; this effect was specific to consolidation and not retrieval. We conclude that caffeine enhanced consolidation of long-term memories in humans.”

 

Sleep deprivation associated with changes in brain micro-structure

9 Oct

A paper from PLOS , “Widespread Changes in White Matter Microstructure after a Day of Waking and Sleep Deprivation.”

From the PLOS Blog:

“Neuroscientists from Norway set out to answer this question in their recent PLOS ONE study, examining how a night forgoing sleep affects brain microstructure. Among their findings, sleep deprivation induced widespread structural alterations throughout the brain.”

“My hypothesis,” says first author Dr. Torbjørn Elvsåshagen, “would be that the putative effects of one night of sleep deprivation on white matter microstructure are short term and reverse after one to a few nights of normal sleep. However, it could be hypothesized that chronic sleep insufficiency might lead to longer-lasting alterations in brain structure. Consistent with this idea, evidence for an association between impaired sleep and localized cortical thinning was found in obstructive sleep apnea syndrome, idiopathic rapid eye movement sleep behavior disorder, mild cognitive impairment and community-dwelling adults. Whether chronic sleep insufficiency can lead to longer-lasting alterations in white matter structure remains to be clarified.”

Napping improves some forms of memory

9 Apr

A paper in the journal  Neurobiology of Learning and Memory reports that napping can improve some kinds of memory. Here is the abstract:

“Many studies have shown that sleep improves memory performance, and that even short naps during the day are beneficial. Certain physiological components of sleep such as spindles and slow-wave-sleep are thought to be particularly important for memory consolidation. The aim of this experiment was to reveal the role of naps for hippocampus-dependent associative memory (AM) and hippocampus-independent item memory (IM) alongside their corresponding ERP old/new effects. Participants learnt single words and word-pairs before performing an IM- and an AM-test (baseline). One group was subsequently allowed to nap (∼90 min) while the other watched DVDs (control group). Afterwards, both groups performed a final IM- and AM-test for the learned stimuli (posttest). IM performance decreased for both groups, while AM performance decreased for the control group but remained constant for the nap group, consistent with predictions concerning the selective impact of napping on hippocampus-dependent recognition. Putative ERP correlates of familiarity and recollection were observed in the IM posttest, whereas only the later recollection-related effect was present in the AM test. Notably, none of these effects varied with group. Positive correlations were observed between spindle density during slow-wave-sleep and AM posttest performance as well as between spindle density during non-REM sleep and AM baseline performance, showing that successful learning and retrieval both before and after sleep relates to spindle density during nap sleep. Together, these results speak for a selective beneficial impact of naps on hippocampus-dependent memories.”

 

Treadmill Running Reverses Cognitive Declines

5 Feb

A paper from Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise:

“Purpose: This study investigated the effect of treadmill running on cognitive declines in the early and advanced stages of Alzheimer’s disease (AD) in 3xTg-AD mice.

Methods: At 4 months of age, 3xTg-AD mice (N=24) were assigned to control (AD+CON, n=12) or exercise (AD+EX, n=12) group. At 24 months of age, 3xTg-AD mice (N=16) were assigned to AD+CON (n=8) or AD+EX (n=8) group. The AD+EX mice were subjected to treadmill running for 12-week. At each pathologic stage, the background strain mice were included as wild type control (WT+CON, n=8-12).

Results: At the early stage of AD, 3xTg-AD mice had impaired short- and long-term memory based on Morris water maze along with higher cortical A[beta] deposition, higher hippocampal and cortical tau pathology, and lower hippocampal and cortical PSD-95 and synaptophysin. A 12-week treadmill running reversed the impaired cognitive declines and significantly improved the tau pathology along with suppression of the decreased PSD-95 and synaptophysin in the hippocampus and cortex. At the advanced stage of AD, 3xTg-AD mice had impaired short- and long-term memory along with higher levels of A[beta] deposition, soluble A[beta]1-40 and A[beta]1-42, tau pathology, and lower levels of BDNF, PSD-95 and synaptophysin in the hippocampus and cortex. A 12-week treadmill running reversed the impaired cognitive declines and significantly improved the A[beta] and tau pathology along with suppression of the decreased synaptic proteins and BDNF in the hippocampus and cortex.

Conclusion: The current findings suggest that treadmill running provides a non-pharmacologic means to combat cognitive declines due to AD pathology.”

 

 

Treadmill Running Reverses Cognitive Declines due to Alzheimer’s Disease. In mice.

13 Jan

This study found that treadmill running could reverse cognitive decline in mice. More research will be needed before we know if these results will hold true for humans.

“Purpose: This study investigated the effect of treadmill running on cognitive declines in the early and advanced stages of Alzheimer’s disease (AD) in 3xTg-AD mice.

Methods: At 4 months of age, 3xTg-AD mice (N=24) were assigned to control (AD+CON, n=12) or exercise (AD+EX, n=12) group. At 24 months of age, 3xTg-AD mice (N=16) were assigned to AD+CON (n=8) or AD+EX (n=8) group. The AD+EX mice were subjected to treadmill running for 12-week. At each pathologic stage, the background strain mice were included as wild type control (WT+CON, n=8-12).

Results: At the early stage of AD, 3xTg-AD mice had impaired short- and long-term memory based on Morris water maze along with higher cortical A[beta] deposition, higher hippocampal and cortical tau pathology, and lower hippocampal and cortical PSD-95 and synaptophysin. A 12-week treadmill running reversed the impaired cognitive declines and significantly improved the tau pathology along with suppression of the decreased PSD-95 and synaptophysin in the hippocampus and cortex. At the advanced stage of AD, 3xTg-AD mice had impaired short- and long-term memory along with higher levels of A[beta] deposition, soluble A[beta]1-40 and A[beta]1-42, tau pathology, and lower levels of BDNF, PSD-95 and synaptophysin in the hippocampus and cortex. A 12-week treadmill running reversed the impaired cognitive declines and significantly improved the A[beta] and tau pathology along with suppression of the decreased synaptic proteins and BDNF in the hippocampus and cortex.

Conclusion: The current findings suggest that treadmill running provides a non-pharmacologic means to combat cognitive declines due to AD pathology.”

 

My memory improvement book

4 Mar

Exciting news! Over the weekend I signed a contract with a publisher to write a book on memory improvement. The working title is Remembering Willie Nelson: The Science of Memory Training. The publisher is Moonshine Cove Publishing, an independent house.

The book will be grounded in psychology and brain science. I will describe important experiments and findings that bear on our understanding of memory. It will also explain why memory remains central to education and modern life.

My book will also include my plan for daily memory practice that will help readers with the range of important memory tasks; including remembering names, learning foreign language vocabulary, studying for exams, and recalling computer passwords.

I deliver my final manuscript to the publisher in late November. I will keep you updated on my progress.

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Coffee and memory

13 Jan

A study published in Nature Neuroscience reports on the effects of coffee on memory. Caffeine is known to improve attention and attention is a prerequisite for memory. However the effects of caffeine on memory independent of attention have been unclear.

In this study, the participants drank coffee after being exposed to the learning material. Thus, they were not experiencing the attention enhancing effects of coffee while learning. The results:

“We conclude that caffeine enhanced consolidation of long-term memories in humans.”

What is the latest thinking on the health effects of coffee? Dr. Greger gives us the data:

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