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Brain Treatment May Enhance Spatial Memory [Copy link] 中文

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Post time 2012-2-10 00:04:00 |Display all floors
By Rachael Rettner

One type of memory can be improved by sending electrical pulses into the brain, a new study suggests.

        In the study, patients with epilepsy who were treated with deep brain stimulation showed enhanced spatial memory, the type of memory you need to find your car in a parking lot.

        The study was small — just seven patients — and it's unclear whether the findings would apply to people without epilepsy, or if the technique could improve other types of memory, such as the ability to remember events in your life.

        Still, these early findings suggest deep brain stimulation may improve memory in people with memory impairments, such as those with Alzheimer's disease, the researchers said. More research is needed to see if this is indeed the case.

        The study will be published Feb. 9 in the New England Journal of Medicine.

Brain stimulation

        Deep brain stimulation has previously been shown to help with symptoms of Parkinson's disease and obsessive compulsive disorder.

        Patients in the new study had previously had electrodes implanted in their brains, to locate the origins of their seizures.

        The patients played a video game in which they drove a taxi though a virtual city and had to pick up and drop off passengers at specific locations. Meanwhile, the researchers stimulated either the hippocampus, which plays a role in forming memories, or the entorhinal cortex, a sort of "doorway" into the hippocampus, through which brain signals must pass before memories are formed.

        The researchers stimulated the brain as the participants learned how to get to some, but not all, of the drop-off locations.

        It turned out, participants better remembered the routes to the drop-off locations when deep brain stimulation had been used. They got there faster, and chose a shorter route to those locations on subsequent trips.

        "They even learned to take shortcuts, reflecting improved spatial memory," said study researcher Dr. Itzhak Fried, a professor of neurosurgery at the University of California, Los Angeles.

        However, only stimulation at the entorhinal cortex, not the hippocampus, had an effect on spatial memory, Fried said.

        "It is possible that with stimulation, we are 'helping' the hippocampus form memories more strongly by manipulating the information that enters the hippocampus," said study researcher Nanthia Suthana, a postdoctoral researcher at UCLA.

Enhancing memory

        Because the brain stimulation was delivered only while participants were learning, the findings suggest that such stimulation would not need to be continuous in order to improve memory, Fried said. This could mean that a device implanted in the brain could be designed to switch on only at certain times during daily activities, in order to boost memory, Fried said.

        The findings are "highly intriguing," and are in line with the results of some previous animal studies, said Dr. Benjamin Greenberg, a psychiatrist at Brown University and at Butler Hospital in Providence, R.I., who has researched deep brain stimulation but was not involved in the new study.

        However, it's way too soon to say whether the findings with apply to Alzheimer's patients, Greenberg said. And even if deep brain stimulation is found to improve memory in Alzheimer's patients, the effects might be temporary, if they do not counter the brain degeneration that occurs in people with that disease, Greenberg said.

        A 2010 study of continuous deep brain stimulation on six Alzheimer's patients for one year found the therapy improved the use of sugar by the brain, but did not significantly improve memory. The therapy appeared safe, and the researchers said the idea warrants further testing.

Pass it on:  Deep brain stimulation appears to enhance memory in epilepsy patients.

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Post time 2012-2-10 00:18:45 |Display all floors

The brain plays a critical role in your overall health and wellbeing. One should not only concern themselves with cholesterol and body fat percentage, but should also focus on improving the overall health of their brain as well. A healthy brain can have effects on how you think, remember, sleep, feel and even the way your body works. Without it, you and the rest of your body is worthless. A healthy and cared for brain in your younger years may help prevent age related diseases or dementias in later years. Luckily, we know of many techniques that can help keep your brain healthy as you age.

One of the most important steps to maintaining a healthy brain is to be physically active. When you exercise, blood flow is increased throughout the body, which provides more oxygen and nutrients (carried by blood) to the brain. Exercise does not have to be incredibly strenuous. You just need enough to get your blood pumping. Activities of aerobic nature tend to be the most effective in short amounts of time. Exercising also decreases stress, which has been found to have negative effects on overall health. Head traumas have been found to increase the chances of brain related dementias so remember to take the necessary precautions while exercising. Exercising along with frequent mental stimulation and a nutrient rich diet are key to improving and maintaining brain health.

Along with exercise, social interaction stimulates the brain and reduces stress. Studies show that subjects with active social lives (all other factors close to similar) verse those who don't, have significantly healthier brains. These subjects had significantly lower chances of developing dementia as well and their overall happiness was higher. People that are lacking socially can find remedies in community service projects, jobs, clubs, and even online.

The area that most people struggled with when it comes to taking care of their brain is maintaining a healthy diet with the needed nutrients for the brain. Intense neurological processes occur in your brain every second of the day. Proper diet and nutrients are key to protecting your brain, as well as having it perform at its optimum level. Foods high in fat and cholesterol are known to clog arteries and decrease blood flow to the brain, the source and flow of nutrients to the brain. Not only should you limit certain foods, but increasing certain foods is also recommended. Foods or supplements that include antioxidants are highly recommended. Antioxidants help remove harmful substances such as free radicals. Freed radicals are cells that are missing electrons and cause negative effects to the body including increased rate of aging and diseases. Limiting the amount of free radicals in the body have incredible effects on the overall health of the brain. Antioxidants are not the only nutrients needed for brain health. Naturally occurring acetylcholine in the brain is used to transmit neuro processors in the brain - creating the flow of information. Supplements containing choline can enhance the production of acetylcholine in the brain and by doing so, increase memory, focus, and concentration, as well as assist in brain diseases. There are also a number of supplements that aid in increasing blood flow and oxygen to the brain. Ginkgo Biloba and Vinpocetine have been proven to improve blood and oxygen flow to the brain as well as enhanced utilization of the increased flow. These supplements are key in maintaining brain health and maximizing brain performance.

The brain controls every aspect of the body. Without it, everything else is useless. Keep it healthy. Keep it safe.

Cerebral Success, commonly used as study pills by college students, is a wonderful product for improving overall brain health and performance.

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