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Successful recovery of working memory in the elderly

04-09 BigMediumSmall I want to comment


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With aging, the brain's ability to process and store information is bound to decline, but what if it can be reversed? According to a study published online in the British Journal of Nature Neuroscience on the 8th, American scientists have successfully restored working memory in the elderly and reversed age-related decline of working memory by synchronizing the rhythms of brain regions, stimulating the temporal lobe and the frontal lobe according to specific rhythms.

Working memory refers to the ability to store short-term information for backup. It is a "limited capacity" system that decreases with age. In young people, working memory is associated with specific nerve interactions within and between brain regions. It is believed that this process involves two modes of nerve oscillation (or brain waves) in the frontal and temporal lobes, namely gamma rhythm and theta rhythm. Theta oscillation synchronization in the frontal and temporal lobes is also associated with working memory and is thought to promote long-term interaction between these brain regions.

This time, the team of Boston University scientists Robert Ryan Hart and John Ruan used electroencephalogram (EEG) to examine in detail how these interactions change in the elderly and how they relate to working memory. They decided to use non-invasive brain stimulation to regulate brain wave interactions associated with working memory.

They selected 42 young people (20-29 years old) and 42 elderly people (60-76 years old) to complete tasks related to working memory with and without brain stimulation. The results showed that the working memory of the elderly was far less rapid and accurate than that of the young without brain stimulation. The interaction between theta rhythm and gamma rhythm in the left temporal cortex and synchronization of theta rhythm in the anterior frontal lobe were enhanced when young people performed working memory tasks.

However, the accuracy of working memory tasks increased to a level similar to that of young people after active brain stimulation. The effect lasted 50 minutes after stimulation. The increased accuracy of tasks performed by the elderly was related to the increased interaction between theta rhythm and gamma rhythm in the left temporal cortex, and the synchronization of theta rhythm between the left temporal cortex and the anterior frontal lobe was enhanced.

The results are expected to lay the foundation for the future development of interventions for age-related cognitive decline, the researchers said.

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