Zapping the brain REVERSES age-related memory loss in older people

Zapping the brain REVERSES age-related memory loss in older people as scientists claim they could 'no longer tell the pensioners given treatment apart from younger people' Researchers in Illinois, US, tested 16 people aged between 64 and 80 They found their brains were restored to that of a younger adult after five days Current is targeted at the hippocampus, which controls memories and emotions 

By Sam Blanchard Health Reporter For Mailonline

Published: 21:00 BST, 17 April 2019 | Updated: 21:00 BST, 17 April 2019

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Zapping older people's brains could sharpen their memories to be as good as those of people decades younger.

Scientists found stimulating a certain part of the brain boosted the memory of over-64s who had normal age-related memory loss.

It worked so well the researchers saw no difference in the test results of volunteers who'd had the therapy and younger, healthier adults.

The findings are the latest in a long line of medical trials to delve into the benefits of electrical stimulation on the brain.

Just two weeks ago a similar study found zapping the brains of over-60s can restore their memory power to that of people in their twenties.  

Electrical stimulation worked so well in a trial the lead investigator said there was no difference in the test results of people who'd had the therapy and younger, healthier adults (stock image)

Electrical stimulation worked so well in a trial the lead investigator said there was no difference in the test results of people who'd had the therapy and younger, healthier adults (stock image)

Scientists at Northwestern University in Illinois tested the effects of using electrical currents targeted at the brain's hippocampus.

Their 16 participants were aged between 64 and 80 years old and had normal levels of memory problems for their age.

After five days of having their brain zapped with low-level electrical currents for 20 minutes per day, their memory ability was on par with people years younger.

'Older people's memory got better up to the level that we could no longer tell them apart from younger people,' said the lead investigator, Dr Joel Voss.

'They got substantially better.' 

Before the electric therapy – called transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) – the over-64s performed 15 per cent worse in memory tests than 18 to 34-year-olds.

In the first round they scored 40 per cent in computer-based tasks which required them to remember specific, made-up relationships between objects in a test.

Younger participants scored 55 per cent in the previous research, but the scores were equal after the TMS therapy.

The TMS increased activity in the parietal lobe, which controls the hippocampus - it can not be stimulated directly because it is too deep inside the organ.

Forming new memories, learning, and emotional control are all functions influenced by the hippocampus, which the scientists targeted just above the left ear.

HOW COULD ZAPPING THE BRAIN BOOST

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