Northwestern University: Brain Stimulation Boosts Memory Replay, Accuracy

Northwestern news, brain stimulation

Source: Northwestern University (February 2, 2021)

Study used videos of realistic activities to measure how brain stimulation improves day-to-day memory

You might remember you ate cereal for breakfast but forget the color of the bowl. Or recall watching your partner put the milk away but can’t remember on which shelf. 

A new Northwestern Medicine study improved memory of complex, realistic events similar to these by applying transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) to the brain network responsible for memory. The authors then had participants watch videos of realistic activities to measure how memory works during everyday tasks. 

The study found that brain stimulation led to higher quality reinstatement of memories in the brain. Reinstatement is when the brain replays or relives an original event, said lead author Melissa Hebscher, a postdoctoral fellow at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine.

Following stimulation, a person’s brain activity while remembering a video more closely resembled their brain activity when they watched that same video for the first time.