Targeted manipulation of brain waves improves memory performance

Targeted manipulation of brain waves improves memory performance

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The rhythm of brain waves affects memory

According to the latest research results, the targeted rhythmization of brain waves (brain oscillations) can help to improve people's memory. This could be a key to treating conditions like Alzheimer's.

In the current joint study by the University of Birmingham, the Emory University Hospital in Atlanta and the Ruhr University Bochum, it was found that a targeted influence on the oscillations in brain activity can increase the brain's ability to remember. The results of the study were published in the English-language journal "Trends in Neurosciences".

What causes a rhythmization of the brain oscillations

Oscillations in brain activity occur in neuronal processes that are relevant for memory, for example. Approaches to influencing the brain waves are aimed at improving the memory. A review of research in the field has now shown that memory performance can be improved by rhythmic nerve stimulation or entrainment using a range of invasive and non-invasive techniques. Memory performance can be modulated by rhythmic neuronal stimulation. This is as simple as if a light flickers in a certain rhythm, which is then followed by nerve cells in the brain, report the authors of the study.

More research is needed

More research will be required in this area, but it already seems clear that such brain rhythm manipulation is a promising tool to improve memory, both for healthy people and for patients suffering from diseases like Alzheimer's, explain the researchers. Brain waves can be controlled in different ways. They can be modulated with sound and images as well as non-invasive electrical and electromagnetic vibrations. Neural oscillations can also be controlled by deep brain stimulation.

Brain vibrations have an indirect effect on memory

The researchers found that brain vibrations act on certain neuronal mechanisms that influence the formation, maintenance, consolidation and restoration of memories. Investigating how these mechanisms are influenced by brain oscillations will be crucial for the development of effective therapies for memory disorders, the researchers explain.

There are still a few questions to be answered in this area

The study also raises a number of key questions that neuroscientists urgently need to address. For example, the question arises as to what therapeutic potential the treatment has, how different stimulation approaches influence memory in tests with stimuli such as films, augmented reality and virtual reality, which neuronal mechanisms are affected by brain vibrations in different frequency bands and how they affect education and affect the retrieval of memories? (as)

Author and source information

Video: WSU: The Biology of Consciousness with Christof Koch (August 2022).