«Deep brain stimulation - a technique used to treat Parkinson's disease and other mental disorders, may also improve memory," - say researchers.A small study conducted by the University of California at Los Angeles (UCLA) found that using electric pulses to stimulate parts of the brain responsible for memory function, significantly improved navigation capacity of the patient, reflecting the improvement in spatial memory."Although the results are preliminary, the method may be promising for patients with Alzheimer's disease" - the researchers say.
«It is necessary to take into account that this is the first, important step," - said Suzanne Haber, a researcher of the brain and a professor of pharmacology and physiology at the University of Rochester Medical Center in New York, who was not involved in the study."The researchers were able to show that the stimulation of this area is essential for a certain kind of knowledge.The study raises many questions, and many more experiments need to be held in this d
Seven patients with epilepsy, awaiting surgery, implanted electrodes in the brain, in order to accurately determine the root cause was their seizures.The researchers followed them and found that they were better recognize the places and routes into a videogame-stimulants taxi with passengers in the virtual cyber cities.Patients played the role of a taxi driver who picked up passengers and deliver them to one of six shops.
«Stimulation entorinarnoy cortex - an area considered important for the transformation of everyday experience into lasting memories, has led to improvements," - say researchers.During the video, the participants studied a route around a virtual city within five seconds of deep brain stimulation or no, and then tested their ability to achieve the set targets.Six patients demonstrated a reduction in "excess path length" 64% - the perfect way between the destinations that best actors chosen for deep brain stimulation.
«For five patients, the movement of each of the three stores, the path to which studied during stimulation was faster and shorter than the movement of the three stores, the way in which they have learned without stimulation of the brain, suggesting a persistent effect" -the study said.However, stimulation of the hippocampus - the area of the brain near the entorhinal cortex, which helps form and store memories, did not give the desired effect during the experiment.
«It is important that stimulation at the entrance to the hippocampus, and the hippocampus showed not very effective," - said in a university news release, senior author Dr. Itzhak Fried, professor of neurosurgery at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA.
«Our preliminary results indicate the existence of a possible mechanism for improving memory, especially for elderly people or people suffering from early dementia.At the same time, we studied only a small number of patients, therefore, to the results obtained should be treated with caution ", - said Fried.Currently, deep brain stimulation is used for the treatment of tremor in Parkinson's disease, the symptoms of obsessive-compulsive disorder and other mental disorders, including depression.
Haber noted that brain damage that occurs in epilepsy, can lead to problems of memory, different from the problems in Alzheimer's disease, in which the formation of amyloid plaques and tangles neyrofibllyarnyh that contributes to damage of nerve cells."Therefore, it is difficult to generalize the results of this study to other diseases affecting the memory, and studies have not shown any lasting effect of deep brain stimulation after the end of the study," - she said.
«In studies of this type, we perceive things in a certain way," - said Harber, - "But how things really are, this is what we have to understand.It is necessary to consider some similarities with the "just learning", an important process of the brain. "
study is published February 9 in the journal New England Journal of Medicine.