Israeli and U.S. researchers have developed a new method of deep brain stimulation during sleep to improve memory consolidation, the Tel Aviv University (TAU) said in a statement on Tuesday, APA reports citing Xinhua.
To develop the new method, described in a study published by the journal Nature Neuroscience, the researchers first proved that the human brain strengthens long-lasting memories by coordinating the hippocampus and frontal cortex during sleep.
The hippocampus is a deep brain region involved in acquiring new memories, while the frontal cortex stores long-lasting memories.
The team, comprising researchers from the TAU and the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) in the United States, used implanted electrodes to improve memory consolidation in the brains of 18 patients at the UCLA Medical Center through a stimulation protocol that enhances synchronization between the two areas in the brain.
The study found that deep brain stimulation during sleep significantly improved brain activity and memory performance among the participants, compared to memory tests performed after undisturbed night sleep.
The researchers explained that by monitoring hippocampus activity during sleep, the new method enables precisely timed delivery of electrical stimulation to the frontal cortex.
They noted that the approach of intervention during sleep may provide hope for people with memory impairments such as dementia.