Boston University Treating Dementia with Transcranial Alternating Current
It sounds like a shocker To Your Head for Memory-Loss but Boston Universities Cognitive & Clinical Neuroscience Laboratory has found that Transcranial Alternating Current produced positive effects that are both moderate and large with most pareticipants experienced positive memory improvements.
A group of 150 adults age 65 to 88 wore a shower cap with electrodes that were hooked up to a stimulation device that releases a weak electrical current into the electrodes in the shower cap. Each session lasted 20 minutes. Testing participants had to recall five lists of 20 words while the treatment was working. No participant had a diagnosis of Alzheimer’s or another Dementia.
Robert Reinhart is the director of the Cognitive & Clinical Neuroscience Laboratory at Boston University.
“These electrical currents stimulate brain areas that have lost their rhythm, Reinhart explained that,
“Cells that fire together wire together, and thus carry information forward in time [improving memory],” Reinhart said. “Firing together highlights the importance of timing in the brain for successful memory and neuroplasticity, and our brain stimulation protocol is designed to modify brain activity timing like a conductor of a symphony organizes the sounds of the different instruments. Working memory is a fragile cognitive resource that declines with age.”
The effects last almost an hour and it is thought the neuromodulation syncs the brain waves. Cells that fire together is important since communication happens through bursts of activity. Much more work needs to be done to understand how to reproduce these effects with a longer term effect or if they have a chance at helping those living with Alzheimer’s.