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15 Things We Learned About the Human Body in 2019

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The brain responds to a memory booster

Memory loss, as occurs with Alzheimers disease and dementia, may not be as permanent as we think. A study published in the journal Nature Neuroscience in April discovered that harmless electrical currents can stimulate the brain into working better. We developed a new protocol for applying safe, noninvasive, and extremely weak electrical current to the human brain, says Robert Reinhart, PhD, an assistant professor in the department of psychological and brain sciences at Boston University. Then, using this new method, they found they could make precise changes in how certain brain areas communicate with each other. The result was a significant boost in brain plasticitythe natural ability of the brain to heal itselfand improvement in short-term memory performance for healthy 60- and 70-year old adults, with effects lasting longer than 50 minutes, Dr. Reinhart says. This research lays the basis for developing new drug-free neuroscience therapeutics for people with memory problems, such as those suffering from Alzheimers disease.

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