Memory issues affect hundreds of thousands of people per year in Australia and is representative across all ages, gender and culture. However, increasingly with the growth of the aging population, so are the concerns with memory issues and the development of further research on degenerative health conditions.
A new study suggests that repetitive Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS) can assist in improving memory. It is suggested that the method of TMS can manipulate the deeply located hippocampal structure without surgery. This is ground breaking for those in the mental health industry, who have
TMS Treatment involves directing magnetic pulsations to the surface area of certain parts of the brain, to either excite or inhibit neural pathways. Previously, it was thought that TMS could not reach deep brain structures, therefore treatment options were limited using this method.
However, Dr Voss, an Assistant Professor of Medical Social Sciences at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine in Chicago, Illinois tested this theory out. The Professor suggested that they stimulated areas of the brain that is known to be disrupted in memory disorders. What they found was that by stimulating these surface areas, there was a secondary effect, overall changing the broader hippocampal network.
As a result, the improvement in neural connectivity across brain regions resulted in quantitative improvements in memory across a range of health participants. Not only did this study demonstrate the role of cortical hippocampal networks and their role in associative memory, but it also demonstrates the plasticity of the brain and how different treatment methods can improve conditions.
Research such as this, has lead to a plethora of further investigation into how TMS as a method of brain stimulation can have secondary impacts/ changes on deeper brain structures in general. This can have many practical implications such as treatments for neurological conditions, or psychological conditions such as PTSD, overall broadening the scope in which TMS can assist patients who are resistant to other treatment modalities. It strengthens the conceptualisation of the brain’s plasticity and how as practitioners, we can manipulate areas of the brain to behave in ways in which they are otherwise deficient.
For more information please visit the published article http://science.sciencemag.org/content/345/6200/1054
Or please contact our TMS Care Team for more information on 1300 867 888 or email us on firstname.lastname@example.org
Wang et al., (2014). Targeted enhancement of cortical- hippocampal brain networks and associative memory. Science, 345, 1054-1057. Retrieved from http://science.sciencemag.org/content/345/6200/1054
Photo credit: mayoclinic.org