Electrical stimulation of the brain temporarily rejuvenates the human brain for 50 years

Electrical stimulation of the brain is able to ease symptoms of depression patients to withdraw from the vegetative state, and even reduce the effects of Parkinson's disease. Recently, a team of scientists from Boston University has demonstrated a technique that is capable of restoring the working memory of 70-year-olds so that it begins to work as a 20-year-old young people. It is noteworthy that the technique does not require implanting electrodes directly into the brain of the patient - the stimulation is carried out through the scalp.

Electrical stimulation of the brain temporarily rejuvenates the human brain for 50 years

The group was intended to improve the working memory of older people from the beginning, and operated under the direction of Rob Reinhart neuroscientist. Particular attention was paid to the working memory, which can store information that is necessary in the performance of a specific task. For example, it is switched on when a person recalls a list of products to buy, looking for the keys to the car or take any other decision.

According to Reinhart, working memory begins to fade after 20 years of age due to the fact that different areas of the brain begin to disintegrate and lose their connection with each other. Upon reaching the age of 70, these gaps become so large that the cognitive decline becomes most noticeable.

It was found that electrical stimulation of the brain helps to restore synchronous operation of its various parts. In particular, we are talking about the theta rhythm, which will eventually lose their synchronicity, which leads to a deterioration of working memory.

Electrical stimulation of the brain temporarily rejuvenates the human brain for 50 years

During the task the young brain (left) shows the activity, while older (middle) remains inactive. After stimulation, the elderly brain is activated in the same area as that of the young.

To prove the effectiveness of electrical stimulation, the researchers gathered a group of volunteers aged 20 to 60 years. They were given the task to view the image, pause, look at the second and the call how it differs from the first one. It is not surprising that young people have coped with this task much better than the elderly. However, the stimulation for 25 minutes has helped improve working memory by as much as 50 minutes. It is noteworthy that it has improved even in young people.

We have shown that 20-year-old volunteers can also benefit from exactly the same stimulation.

Rob Reinhart, a neuroscientist

Seeing that stimulation could make a working memory of older people to be as effective as a 20-year-olds, the researchers decided to continue the study of the brain stimulation. In the future they intend to carefully study its effects on the brain in Alzheimer's disease.

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