Memory deterioration or loss in the elderly can be a serious problem. About 8% of people in the US suffer from dementia or Alzheimer’s disease. An even greater percentage is found with lesser manifestations of this phenomenon.
In the search for easy and quick ways to improve memory in older people, scientists have found that electricity can help with this. Pulses of electrical current through a patient’s brain for 20 minutes can improve memory for at least a month, says a new study.
Brain stimulation was carried out using a device that looks like a hat with numerous electrodes. Electrodes transmitted current to certain areas of the brain – one of them is responsible for short-term and the other for long-term memory.
The research was conducted on a group of 60 people aged 65 to 88 years. Patients were divided into three groups. One of them wore the device but did not receive stimulation. The second stimulated the area responsible for short-term memory, and the third – for long-term memory.
The experiment showed that during the four days of the study, the memory of those who received stimulation improved. The improvements accumulated over time, the researchers said. Memory improved the most in those with the lowest cognitive abilities at the time of the experiment. Also, those who experienced the greatest effect during the four-day study had better memory after a month.
Scientists emphasize that the device is experimental. However, it is safe and has no side effects other than tingling and itching in patients during the procedure. Scientists hope to continue testing it in people with specific diseases, such as Alzheimer’s disease.