Stimulation excites the brain to form better memories

Stimulation excites the brain to form better memories


So you can think of excitability as
being something that’s naturally important for the memory formation
process. Before receiving any stimulation at all, their level of activity is shown
by this bar right here and then after receiving stimulation, it increases
substantially, actually kicking it over into the positive realm. There are a million steps between a
basic science study like this one and an actual clinical intervention, but at
least it indicates that there’s some — it’s worth going down that path. “Hi. Shruti?” You know, someone comes into the lab and we use an MRI scan taken before they receive any
brain stimulation in order to identify the hippocampal memory network so that
we can then aim our TMS procedure at it. So the camera that’s monitoring the room
is recording the subject’s head position and the TMS wand position in real-time so
that we can know exactly where we’re delivering stimulation into the subject’s
brain. So we process their MRI data, identify a stimulation target within
their hippocampal memory network and then that target gets stimulated
consecutively for five days in this particular study. For each day they come
in, we use what’s called a stereotactic reference frame to localize the position
of their head and space to their MRI. That way we can deliver TMS to an area
of their brain and we can verify that location by knowing the position of
their head relative to their MRI scan, essentially. “Each of these will be paired with
six other objects and your job is to try to remember which object is paired with
this scene.” Essentially, every single day that we tested them in the experiment, subjects would play the ‘Memory’ game, where they would have to
remember that a picture went at a particular spot or they would have to
remember that two pictures went together. And that’s what we would test them for,
and what stimulation did was it improved their performance.

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