Posted on Jul 26, 2018, 1 a.m.
Non-invasive overnight brain stimulation technique enhances memory storage without disturbing sleep by researchers from the University of New Mexico, as published in JNeurosci.
Human research has demonstrated the potential to improve memory with a non-invasive technique delivered during sleep in a study with goals to gain better understandings of the process of memory consolidation which could translate into improved memory function in healthy and patient populations funded by the United States Department of Defense.
Synchronization of the brain for long term storage during sleep is thought to be enabled via memory transfer from the hippocampus to the neocortex. Researchers sought to enhance the process in order to improve memory using a closed loop transcranial alternating current stimulation system matching the phase and frequency of slow wave oscillations during sleep.
Participants were trained on visual discrimination tasks to detect threatening hidden objects and people. Overnight sleep stimulation participants were found to show improved performance in detecting targets in similar situations as compared to not receiving stimulation, which suggests integration of recent experience into more robust and general memory.
Overnight memory correlated with stimulation induced neural changes that could possibly be used in future applications; and findings provide a method for enhanced memory consolidation without disturbing sleep, according to the researchers.
Materials provided by Society for Neuroscience.
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Nicholas Ketz, Aaron Jones, Natalie Bryant, Vincent P. Clark, Praveen K. Pilly. Closed-loop slow-wave tACS improves sleep dependent long-term memory generalization by modulating endogenous oscillations. The Journal of Neuroscience, 2018; 0273-18 DOI: 10.1523/JNEUROSCI.0273-18.2018