This might seem relatable: turning your house upside down in the hunt for your glasses only to find them hours later on your head, or you have planned to write something but have forgotten the content the second you picked the pen, having difficulties in following multi-step directions and inconsistent performance. This all happens when our working memory; the ability to hold on to information, is simply not functioning properly. As always, science has found a solution of this problem.

As we grow older, the connectivity between different regions decreases, adversely affecting our working memory. To test this phenomenon, an experiment was carried out by Boston University researchers: Robert Reinhart and John Nguyen. Equal number of younger and older participants took part in a ‘spot-the-difference’ type test.

The experiment’s results show that after the electrodes were attached to their scalp and a mild electrical signal was sent through the brain for 25 minutes, not only did the performance of the older group match to that of the younger group but it also lasted for 50-60 minutes. The brain stimulation helped synchronize different regions of the brain. Also, the flow of information increased effectively leading to improved working memory. With different parts of brain harmonized with each other, older people can relive-only mentally-their 20’s.

This groundbreaking discovery can unravel new ways of using brain stimulations to treat conditions like OCD, Parkinson’s disease and much more.

This research paper was published in the journal Nature Neuroscience.

For further reading:

https://www.nature.com/articles/s41593-019-0371-x

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