Jan. 19 (UPI) -- Researchers from Northwestern University are using a new method to non-invasively stimulate the brain to improve a certain type of memory.
The research involves using brain stimulation to target a person's precise memory, which is used to remember specific details like shapes, colors and locations of things. Precise memory is usually lost in people with memory disorders.
Researchers used electromagnets to stimulate the area of the brain responsible for spatial memory, finding that it also improved precise memory and the improvements lasted 24 hours. MRIs were used to identify the memory-related brain networks in study participants.
"We show that it is possible to target the portion of the brain responsible for this type of memory and to improve it," Joel Voss, assistant professor of medical social sciences at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine and lead author of the study, said in a press release. "People with brain injuries have problems with precise memory as do individuals with dementia, and so our findings could be useful in developing new treatments for these conditions."
The study improves understanding of how memory can be improved through non-invasive measures where in previous studies, this type of stimulation only had limited, short-term effects.
"We improved people's memory in a very specific and important way a full day after we stimulated their brains," Voss said.
The study was published in Current Biology.