Summary: Transcranial photobiomodulation (tPBM), a laser therapy delivered to the right prefrontal cortex, appears to improve short-term memory in human and animal models. The therapy, which is non-invasive and has no side effects, could help treat people with short-term memory disorders.
Source: University of Birmingham
Scientists from the University of Birmingham in the UK and Peking Normal University in China have shown that the therapy, which is non-invasive, can improve short-term working memory by up to 25% in people .
The treatment, called transcranial photobiomodulation (tPBM), is applied to an area of the brain known as the right prefrontal cortex. This area is widely recognized as important for working memory.
In their experiment, the team showed how working memory improved in research participants after several minutes of treatment. They were also able to track changes in brain activity using electroencephalogram (EEG) monitoring during treatment and testing.
Previous studies have shown that laser light treatment will improve working memory in mice, and human studies have shown that tPBM treatment can improve accuracy, speed reaction time, and improve high-level functions. level such as attention and emotion.
This is, however, the first study to confirm a link between tPBM and working memory in humans.
Dongwei Li, Visiting Ph.D. student at the Center for Human Brain Health at the University of Birmingham, is a co-author of the paper. He said: “People with conditions such as ADHD (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder) or other attention-related conditions could benefit from this type of treatment, which is safe, simple and non-invasive. , without side effects.”
In the study, researchers from Beijing Normal University conducted experiments with 90 male and female participants between the ages of 18 and 25. Participants were treated with laser light to the right prefrontal cortex at wavelengths of 1,064 nm, while others were treated at a shorter wavelength, or the treatment was delivered to the cortex left prefrontal. Each participant was also treated with a sham or inactive tPBM to exclude the placebo effect.
After a 12-minute tPBM treatment, participants were asked to recall the orientations or color of a set of items displayed on a screen. Participants treated with laser light on the right prefrontal cortex at 1,064 nm showed marked improvements in memory compared to those who received the other treatments.
While participants receiving other treatment variants were close to recalling between three and four of the test objects, those with the targeted treatment were able to recall between four and five objects.
Data, including electroencephalogram (EEG) monitoring during the experiment, was analyzed at the University of Birmingham and showed changes in brain activity that also predicted improvements in memory performance.
Researchers don’t yet know precisely why the treatment causes positive effects on working memory, or how long the effects will last. Further research is planned to investigate these aspects.
Professor Ole Jensen, also from the Center for Human Brain Health, said: “We need more research to understand exactly why tPBM has this positive effect, but it’s possible that the light stimulates astrocytes – the powerhouses – in nerve cells. in the prefrontal cortex, which has a positive effect on cell efficiency. We will also investigate how long the effects might last. Clearly, if these experiences are to lead to clinical intervention, we need to see lasting benefits. »
About this neurotech and memory research news
Author: Press office
Source: University of Birmingham
Contact: Press Office – University of Birmingham
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Original research: Free access.
“Transcranial photobiomodulation improves visual working memory capacity in humans” by Chenguang Zhao et al. Scientists progress
Transcranial photobiomodulation improves visual working memory capacity in humans
Transcranial photobiomodulation (tPBM) is a safe, non-invasive intervention that has shown promise for improving cognitive performance.
It is unknown whether tPBM can modulate brain activity and thereby improve working memory (WM) capacity in humans.
In this study, we found that 1064 nm tPBM applied to the right prefrontal cortex (PFC) improves visual working memory capacity and increases contralateral occipitoparietal delay (CDA) activity.
The CDA definite size effect during retention mediated the effect between the 1064 nm tPBM and subsequent WM capacity.
Behavioral benefits and corresponding changes in CDA ensemble size effect were absent with tPBM at a wavelength of 852 nm or with stimulation of the left PFC.
Our results provide converging evidence that 1064 nm tPBM applied to the right PFC can improve WM capability.
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