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Magnetic Pulses Aid Memory Processes

Posted Aug 08 2011 10:22pm
Posted on 2011-08-05 06:00:00 in Brain and Mental Performance | Neurology |

Whereas the attempt to try to learn a verbal skill and a motor skill in quick succession often fails, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center (Massachusetts, USA), researchers have found that the application of transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) assists with subsequent recall.  Daniel Cohen and colleagues assessed 120 college students in a series of experiments. In the first set, participants learned a list of words and then a motor skill, followed by sham stimulation or real TMS to either brain region. The team found that when subjects tried to learn a word list and then a motor skill, they had better recall on the verbal task 12 hours later if the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex of the brain was stimulated right after the learning process.  Similarly, when the subjects learned the motor skill first, their long-term recall of it was significantly better if they had TMS of the primary motor cortex. Suggesting that TMS appears to modulate the chemical and electrical signaling involved in neuron communication, the researchers conclude that: “Our observations suggest that distinct mechanisms support the communication between different types of memory processing.”

Daniel A Cohen, Edwin M Robertson.  “Preventing interference between different memory tasks.”  Nature Neuroscience, 26 June 2011.

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