Three neuroscientists at the University of Pennsylvania have been working on a four-year project for the Department of Defense called Restoring Active Memory. The goal of the program is to develop “next-generation technologies that improve memory function in people who suffer from memory loss.” Their recent findings were published in Current Biology.
The neuroscientists report that electrical stimulation can improve a person’s memory function when it is delivered when memory failure is predicted. When the electrical stimulation is delivered when a person’s memory is functioning properly, the stimulation is disruptive.
The lead author said, “By applying machine-learning methods to electrical signals measured at widespread locations throughout the human brain, we are able to identify neural activity that indicates when a given patient will have lapses of memory encoding.”
The study involved patients who suffer from epilepsy. They were asked to remember a list of common words while undergoing safe stimulation of the brain. They determined that when the stimulation occurs when the person’s memory is working properly, memory worsens. When the stimulation arrives when the memory is not functioning properly, memory improves.
The neuroscientists believe that this process could help improve the lives of people who have suffered traumatic brain injuries or who suffer from neurological disease like Alzheimer’s. However, there is more work needed to be able to develop an “actual therapeutic platform.”
Suffering from a traumatic brain injury can have drastic effects on a person’s life. For those who were injured due to another person’s negligence, an attorney can help them seek compensation to cover medical expenses, lost wages and more.
Source: news.upenn.edu, “Penn Researchers Show Brain Stimulation Restores Memory During Lapses,” Katherine Unger Baillie and Michele W. Berger, April 20, 2017