We all understand that memory declines as we grow older. In fact, 15% – 20% of people over 65-years-old have some form of mild cognitive impairment (MCI). Today there’s new research that suggests that transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) can help reverse memory loss. In one study it restored a senior’s memory to the level of a young adult.
How TMS Works
This technique is used to target the hippocampus part of your brain which is responsible for linking two unrelated things together to form a memory (e.g. someone’s name, where you placed an item). Unfortunately, this is also the part of your brain that is known to shrink as you grow older hence its link to age-related memory loss. Here magnetic fields are sent to this area of your brain which will also affect your central nervous system (CNS). These magnetic fields operate completely outside of your body so the technique is considered noninvasive in nature.
A Look at a Recent Research Study
Joel Voss is an associate professor at the Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine which is in Chicago, IL. He recently conducted a study in which he and his team recruited 16 adults between the ages of 64 – 80 who underwent a functional MRI so researchers knew the exact location of their hippocampus. Since the hippocampus is located really deep in your brain it’s too difficult for magnetic fields to reach it. This is why researchers chose to target a superficial brain area – the parietal lobe – instead. The parietal lobe is what connects to your hippocampus and so they must communicate with one another which is why TMS can be used to indirectly affect a patient’s hippocampus.
High-frequency magnetic stimulation was applied to each patient’s parietal lobe for 20 minutes per day for 5 days in a row. Memory tests were applied both before and after the magnetic fields were applied. In these tests, patients were asked about random associations between various things like objects, places, and words. Young adults typically get 55% of these associations right but older adults would only get about 40% of them right.
Results of the Study
Once seniors received the magnetic treatments, they were able to also score just as well as the young adults did in these memory tests. The improvement was so markedly well that researchers could no longer distinguish these seniors from younger adults. According to Voss, there aren’t any other types of brain stimulation or methods that will improve an older adult’s memory impairment and dysfunction in the same way as this has done. This is why he and his team of researchers are anxious to see how TMS impacts people who suffer from MCI. As such, they will be conducting a study in this regard in the near future.
If you’re suffering from memory loss and want to get some help, you should contact The TMS Advantage. Over the years they’ve helped numerous people start remembering things again. You should be next so contact them today.
Picture Credit: My NeuroStar