3. Electrical stimulation could restore memoryApplying electrical stimulation to the part of the brain that degenerates because of Alzheimer’s disease could improve working memory, according to researchers at Augusta University.
Researchers tested the electrical stimulation in monkeys. Using intermittent stimulation, the monkeys things five times longer in a standard memory test.
Scientists placed hair-thin electrodes into the brain to deliver electricity. The electricity delivery is designed to increase the activity of the nucleus basalis of Meynert, which is the area of the forebrain that is degenerated in Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s diseases.
The Augusta University researchers wanted to increase the amount of the chemical messenger acetylcholine in regions of the brain that have large concentrations of neurons and are essential for memory and cognition. To achieve this, the researchers started using continuous stimulation and had an unexpected decline in performance. Conversely, intermittent stimulation created more acetylcholine in the region and showed better performance.
In a 20-second interval, 60 pulses were administered followed by a 40-second period with no electrical stimulation.