Non-invasive brain stimulation can be employed as a scalpel, instead of like a hammer, to induce specific improvement in precise memory.

Precise memory is useful when it comes to recalling details, such as the ink color and page position of a note you made in a notebook, rather than just the information of having written something down.

This type of specific memory is vital for normal functioning of the brain, and it is often lost when it comes to people with memory disorders, which obstructs well-being and a normal lifestyle.

Non-invasive Brain Stimulation Could Help With Memory Loss

The research, published Jan. 19 in the journal Current Biology, underlines the possibility of targeting just the portion of the brain which is responsible for specific memory in order to improve it.

"People with brain injuries have problems with precise memory as do individuals with dementia, and so our findings could be useful in developing new treatments for these conditions," noted Joel Voss, lead author of the research and assistant professor of medical social sciences at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine.

The accuracy of the memory when it comes to identifying a specific location is improved through this technique by stimulating the network of the brain responsible for this process alone, isolated from the other cognitive networks.

The study sheds new light on the process that can be employed in improving memory through brain stimulation that is not invasive to the subject. Most of the studies carried out prior to this research have discovered short-term effects of this technique, instead of a permanent solution answering to a very specific ability, such as using precise memory.

The researchers used MRI to spot the networks inside the brain responsible for memory, then stimulated them with this non-invasive technique. Detailed memory tests were carried out to confirm the improvement of the spatial precision memory. Additionally, EEG tests were used to prove that the improvements were correlated to the indicators in the networks stimulated inside the subjects' brains.

"Effects of multiple-day electromagnetic stimulation were assessed using an object-location memory task that segregated recollection precision from general recollection success. Hippocampal posterior-medial network-targeted stimulation produced lasting (∼24 hr) enhancement of recollection precision, without effects on general success. Canonical neural correlates of recollection were also modulated by stimulation," noted the research.

Cognitive Impairment, An Increasing Health Concern

Cognitive impairment is an increasing issue when it comes to the health and well-being of elder people. The aging process accelerates the cognitive functioning to the point where normal functioning of the brain becomes impossible, even with long-term treatment.

Data from CDC show that people across the United States are twice more worried about losing the mental capacities compared to the physical abilities, and 60 percent of the adult population is somewhat worried when it comes to memory loss. Taking consistent steps toward addressing this type of health issue is increasingly important, as it could shape the way people age.

"More than 16 million people in the United States are living with cognitive impairment, but the impact of cognitive impairment at the state level is not well understood. In 2009, five states addressed this shortcoming by assessing the impact of cognitive impairment on their residents," noted the CDC statement.

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