Brain Stimulation Helps Boost Memory

LONDON: Stimulating the brain with gentle electric currents during sleep boosts memory, German scientists said on Sunday.

When they applied several currents that mimic natural slow oscillating brain waves in sleep they enhanced the memory of medical students who had done a word-learning task.

“It leads to improved memory retention,” said Jan Born, a neuroscientist at the University of Luebeck. The scientists, whose results were published online by the journal Nature, believe brain stimulation could help people with memory problems and Alzheimer’s disease.

“This is an alternative way to intensify or to improve sleep and its memory function,” Born said. He and his team asked the students to learn a list of paired words in a standard memory test before they fell asleep. The researchers stimulated their brain while they slept. After they woke up, the students had to recall the words they had memorised.

If the currents were applied to the scalp during deep sleep, the first few hours of nocturnal sleep, the students recalled a greater number of words than if they had been given a sham brain stimulation.

(As published in The Times Of India)

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