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Home Industry News Deep brain stimulation could improve people’s memories

Deep brain stimulation could improve people’s memories

31st January 2008

Deep brain stimulation (DBS) surgery could help people to regain their memories, a new study suggests today.

The technique is already used to treat Parkinson’s disease and other movement disorders and is being studied for its potential to treat a variety of conditions.

Doctors using DBS on a 50-year-old with a lifelong history of obesity triggered a feeling of ‘deja vu’ in the patient.

He reported the perception of being with friends in a park about 30 years ago and as the intensity of the stimulation was increased, the details became more vivid.

Contacts that most readily induced the memories were located in the hypothalamus and estimated to be close to the fornix, which is linked to the body’s memory and emotion system.

Stimulation was found to drive activity in the temporal lobe and the hippocampus – important parts of the brain’s memory circuit.

After three weeks of continuous hypothalamic stimulation the 50-year-old showed significant improvements in two learning tests.

He was also much more likely to remember unrelated paired objects when stimulation was on than when it was off.

“Just as DBS can influence motor and limbic circuits, it may be possible to apply electrical stimulation to modulate memory function and, in so doing, gain a better understanding of the neural substrates of memory,” the researchers conclude in the journal Annals of Neurology.

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