What is the best way to increase memory as we age? Turns out, it depends, a new study suggests. But your fourth grade math teacher might help you remember how to solve a complex problem with that phrase: Please excuse my dear Aunt Sally.
A new study led by researchers from the University of Michigan and Penn State College of Medicine compared the two approaches for people with an early form of memory loss.
The two are mnemonic strategy training, which aims at trying to remember something else, such as a word, phrase, or song (such as Dear Aunt Sally’s mnemonic), and interval retrieval training, which gradually increases the amount of time something. Memorization test.
People with mild cognitive impairment, which may not always lead to a later Alzheimer’s disease diagnosis, were better able to remember information when using one of these cognitive training approaches. However, the data and brain scans showed which areas of the brain were more active, indicating that each activity worked differently.
“Our research shows that we can help people with mild cognitive impairment improve the amount of information they learn and remember, however, different cognitive training approaches engage the brain in different ways. ,” lead and corresponding author Benjamin Hampstead, Ph.D. Hampstead is a professor of psychiatry at Michigan Medicine and the VA Ann Arbor Healthcare System. He directs the research program on cognition and neuromodulation-based interventions and leads the clinical core and co-leads the neuroimaging core at the federally funded Michigan Alzheimer’s Disease Research Center.
“Memory strategy training increased activity in areas of the brain often affected by Alzheimer’s disease, which probably explains why this training approach helped participants to remember more information and for longer periods of time,” Hampstead said. In contrast, those who completed rehearsal-based training showed reduced brain activity, which suggests they were processing information more efficiently.”
Hampstead and his team worked with Krish Sathiyan, MBBS, PhD, professor and chair of Penn State’s Department of Neurology and director of the Penn State Neuroscience Institute. Sathiyan said cognitive training approaches are likely to be increasingly important in synergy with new pharmacological treatments on the horizon for people with neurodegenerative disorders.
Going forward, Hampstead said researchers and clinicians can use this type of information to help them identify the most appropriate non-pharmacological treatment for their patients with memory loss.
Additional authors include Anthony Y. Stringer, Ph.D. of Emory University, and UM team member Alexandru D. Iordan, Ph.D. and Rob Plotz-Snyder, Ph.D.
Funding for the study was provided by the National Institute on Aging (AG072262, AG025688) and the Veterans Health Administration ((IRX001534 and B6366W).
material provided by Michigan Medicine – University of Michigan, Original written by Haley Ottman. Note: Content can be edited for style and length.