Physical Activity May Reduce Alzheimer’s Disease Risk at Any Age

ScienceDaily (Apr. 18, 2012) — Daily physical activity may reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s disease and cognitive decline, even in people over the age of 80, according to a new study by neurological researchers from Rush University Medical Center that will be published in the online issue of Neurology, the medical journal of the American Academy of Neurology on April 18.

“The results of our study indicate that all physical activities including exercise as well as other activities such as cooking, washing the dishes, and cleaning are associated with a reduced risk of Alzheimer’s disease,” said Dr. Aron S. Buchman, lead author of the study and associate professor of neurological sciences at Rush. “These results provide support for efforts to encourage all types of physical activity even in very old adults who might not be able to participate in formal exercise, but can still benefit from a more active lifestyle.”

“This is the first study to use an objective measurement of physical activity in addition to self-reporting,” said Dr. Aron S. Buchman, lead author of the study and associate professor of neurological sciences at Rush. “This is important because people may not be able to remember the details correctly.”

To measure total daily exercise and non-exercise physical activity, researchers from Rush asked 716 older individuals without dementia with an average age of 82 to wear a device called an actigraph, which monitors activity, on their non-dominant wrist continuously for 10 days.

All exercise and non-exercise physical activity was recorded. Study participants also were given annual cognitive tests during this ongoing study to measure memory and thinking abilities. Participants also self-reported their physical and social activities. Study participants were individuals from the Rush Memory and Aging Project, an ongoing, longitudinal community study of common chronic conditions of old age.

Over a mean of 3.5 years of follow-up, 71 participants developed Alzheimer’s disease The research found that people in the bottom 10 percent of daily physical activity were more than twice as likely (2.3 times) to develop Alzheimer’s disease as people in the top 10 percent of daily activity.

The study also showed that those individuals in the bottom 10 percent of intensity of physical activity were almost three times (2.8 times) as likely to develop Alzheimer’s disease as people in the top percent of the intensity of physical activity.

“Since the actigraph was attached to the wrist, activities like cooking, washing the dishes, playing cards and even moving a wheelchair with a person’s arms were beneficial,” said Buchman. “These are low-cost, easily accessible and side-effect free activities people can do at any age, including very old age, to possibly prevent Alzheimer’s.”

The number of Americans older than 65 years of age will double to 80 million by 2030. “Our study shows that physical activity, which is an easily modifiable risk factor, is associated with cognitive decline and Alzheimer’s disease. This has important public health consequences,” said Buchman.

Co-authors of the study from Rush are Patricia Boyle, PhD; Li Yu, PhD; Dr. Raj C. Shah; Robert S. Wilson, PhD; and Dr. David A. Bennett.

The National Institutes of Health, National Institute on Aging, the Illinois Department of Public Health and the Robert C. Borwell Endowment Fund helped fund the study.

New Medication Offers Hope to Patients With Frequent, Uncontrollable Seizures

ScienceDaily (Apr. 18, 2012) — A new type of anti-epilepsy medication that selectively targets proteins in the brain that control excitability may significantly reduce seizure frequency in people whose recurrent seizures have been resistant to even the latest medications, new Johns Hopkins-led research suggests. “Many other drugs to treat frequent seizures have been released in the last 10 years and for many people, they just don’t work,” says study leader Gregory L. Krauss, M.D., a professor of neurology at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. “For a drug-resistant population that has run out of options, this study is good news. These are patients who are tough to treat and are fairly desperate.”

Perampanel is the first in a new class of drugs that appears to blunt an excitatory response in the brain by inhibiting a specific form of glutamate receptor called an AMPA receptor and therefore reducing seizures without causing major side effects. Other drugs targeting all three forms of glutamate receptors in the brain have tended to make patients too sleepy to function, even putting them in comas, Krauss says. But this new medication, he says, may potentially offer relief not only to people with epilepsy, but to those struggling with drug addiction problems or the neurodegenerative disorder ALS.

“For years, people have been trying to modify glutamate receptors to cure disease,” he says. “It’s been a very difficult area to develop new drugs in.”

In a multinational, blinded, placebo-controlled trial of more than 700 people with uncontrolled partial-onset seizures, roughly one-third of participants saw the frequency of their seizures fall by more than 50 percent when they were given 8 milligrams a day of perampanel. Partial-onset seizures — the most common form in epilepsy — begin in one part of the brain, occurring when there is an injury or abnormality in one of the brain’s electrical networks. They can involve anything from the twitching of a limb to confusion to convulsions. Those in this trial typically had roughly 10 seizures a day at baseline.

One in 200 Americans have epilepsy and more than half have partial-onset seizures.

The participants in the study, being reported this week in the journal Neurology, were all taking one to three anti-epileptic drugs before adding perampanel (or a placebo) to their regimen. Krauss and his colleagues assigned each to receive a placebo, two milligrams, four milligrams or eight milligrams per day of the drug. The lowest effective dose was four milligrams per day and the higher the dose, they found, the better the results. Another trial is currently looking at a 12 milligram per day dose. The most common side effect was dizziness, Krauss says.

The study was paid for by Eisai Inc., a New Jersey-based pharmaceutical firm. Krauss says he believes the U.S. Food and Drug Administration will review perampanel in the next year.

Training Can Improve Memory and Increase Brain Activity in Mild Cognitive Impairment

Science Daily (Mar. 1, 2012) — If someone has trouble remembering where the car keys or the cheese grater are, new research shows that a memory training strategy can help. Memory training can even re-engage the hippocampus, part of the brain critical for memory formation, the results suggest.

Researchers at Emory University School of Medicine and Atlanta Veterans Affairs Medical Center have been investigating memory-building strategies for people with MCI (mild cognitive impairment). The techniques used in the study were known to be effective for healthy people, but it has been uncertain how they could affect brain function in people with MCI.

The results are published online in the journal Hippocampus.

“Our results suggest that these strategies can help patients remember specific information, such as the locations of objects, ” says lead author Benjamin Hampstead, PhD, assistant professor of rehabilitation medicine at Emory University School of Medicine. “This is the first randomized controlled trial to show that these techniques are not only effective in MCI patients, but that they can also re-engage the hippocampus, which is a brain region that is critical for forming new memories.”

Hampstead is a clinical neuropsychologist at the Atlanta VA Rehabilitation, Research and Development Center of Excellence. Study co-authors included Krish Sathian, MD, PhD, professor of neurology, rehabilitation medicine, and psychology, and director of the Rehabilitation R&D Center of Excellence at the Atlanta VAMC; and Anthony Stringer, PhD, professor of rehabilitation medicine and psychology.

MCI is a diagnosis meant to identify those at increased risk of eventually converting to Alzheimer’s disease. People with MCI have difficulty forming new memories but are still able to handle tasks of daily living. The difficulty learning and remembering new information is because of impaired function in parts of the brain including the hippocampus.

The study focused on how well participants could remember the locations of common household objects. The memory-building strategy involves three steps. First, participants focused on a feature of the room that stood out and was close to the object, then they learned a short explanation for why the object was in that location. Finally, they created a mental picture to tie the information together.

In several sessions, study participants were shown household objects one at a time, each object followed by its location in a computer-simulated room. An hour later, they were asked to identify the location of each object from among three choices.

After the first visit, participants returned to the laboratory for three training sessions. On a fifth visit two weeks later, they were evaluated on how well they could remember the objects’ locations. A control group received the same amount of exposure to the objects and their locations, but was not given explicit training.

As expected, at the start of the study MCI patients had more difficulty remembering where objects were and showed less brain activity in the hippocampus (measured through functional magnetic resonance imaging) when compared with healthy people.

Both people with MCI and healthy controls benefited significantly more from using memory strategies than from mere exposure. In addition, MCI patients in the memory strategy-training group showed increased activity in the hippocampus as they learned and remembered the location of the objects. Participants in the training group showed increases in hippocampal activity, even when trying to remember the locations of new objects.

“This is an initial, albeit encouraging, step in determining methods that can help these patients function better in their everyday lives,” says Stringer, who originally developed the strategies on which training in this study was based.

“These techniques may hold particular promise given that they appear to promote neuroplastic changes in key brain regions,” Sathian says.

The Emory/VA team has also tested the effectiveness of the memory-building techniques for associating faces and names, in another set of studies. They are continuing the study of the memory-building techniques, with the aim of determining how long the benefits of training last, and whether participants can use the strategies independently outside the laboratory.

The research was supported by the Department of Veterans Affairs and the National Institute on Aging, part of the National Institutes of Health.

New High Definition Fiber Tracking Reveals Damage Caused by Traumatic Brain Injury

Science Daily (Mar. 2, 2012) — A powerful new imaging technique called High Definition Fiber Tracking (HDFT) will allow doctors to clearly see for the first time neural connections broken by traumatic brain injury (TBI) and other neurological disorders, much like X-rays show a fractured bone, according to researchers from the University of Pittsburgh in a report published online in the Journal of Neurosurgery.

In the report, the researchers describe the case of a 32-year-old man who wasn’t wearing a helmet when his all-terrain vehicle crashed. Initially, his CT scans showed bleeding and swelling on the right side of the brain, which controls left-sided body movement. A week later, while the man was still in a coma, a conventional MRI scan showed brain bruising and swelling in the same area. When he awoke three weeks later, the man couldn’t move his left leg, arm and hand.

“There are about 1.7 million cases of TBI in the country each year, and all too often conventional scans show no injury or show improvement over time even though the patient continues to struggle,” said co-senior author and UPMC neurosurgeon David O. Okonkwo, M.D., Ph.D., associate professor, Department of Neurological Surgery, Pitt School of Medicine. “Until now, we have had no objective way of identifying how the injury damaged the patient’s brain tissue, predicting how the patient would fare, or planning rehabilitation to maximize the recovery.”

HDFT might be able to provide those answers, said co-senior author Walter Schneider, Ph.D., professor of psychology at Pitt’s Learning Research and Development Center (LRDC), who led the team that developed the technology. Data from sophisticated MRI scanners is processed through computer algorithms to reveal the wiring of the brain in vivid detail and to pinpoint breaks in the cables, called fiber tracts. Each tract contains millions of neuronal connections.

“In our experiments, HDFT has been able to identify disruptions in neural pathways with a clarity that no other method can see,” Dr. Schneider said. “With it, we can virtually dissect 40 major fiber tracts in the brain to find damaged areas and quantify the proportion of fibers lost relative to the uninjured side of the brain or to the brains of healthy individuals. Now, we can clearly see breaks and identify which parts of the brain have lost connections.”

HDFT scans of the study patient’s brain were performed four and 10 months after he was injured; he also had another scan performed with current state-of the-art diffusion tensor imaging (DTI), an imaging modality that collects data points from 51 directions, while HDFT is based on data from 257 directions. For the latter, the injury site was compared to the healthy side of his brain, as well as to HDFT brain scans from six healthy individuals.

Only the HDFT scan identified a lesion in a motor fiber pathway of the brain that correlated with the patient’s symptoms of left-sided weakness, including mostly intact fibers in the region controlling his left leg and extensive breaks in the region controlling his left hand. The patient eventually recovered movement in his left leg and arm by six months after the accident, but still could not use his wrist and fingers effectively 10 months later.

Memory loss, language problems, personality changes and other brain changes occur with TBI, which the researchers are exploring with HDFT in other research protocols.

UPMC neurosurgeons also have used the technology to supplement conventional imaging, noted Robert Friedlander, M.D., professor and chair, Department of Neurological Surgery, Pitt School of Medicine, and UPMC Endowed Professor of Neurosurgery and Neurobiology. He is not a member of this research study.

“I have used HDFT scans to map my approach to removing certain tumors and vascular abnormalities that lie in areas of the brain that cannot be reached without going through normal tissue,” he said. “It shows me where significant functional pathways are relative to the lesion, so that I can make better decisions about which fiber tracts must be avoided and what might be an acceptable sacrifice to maintain the patient’s best quality of life after surgery.”

Dr. Okonkwo noted that the patient and his family were relieved to learn that there was evidence of brain damage to explain his ongoing difficulties. The team continues to evaluate and validate HDFT’s utility as a brain imaging tool, so it is not yet routinely available.

“We have been wowed by the detailed, meaningful images we can get with this technology,” Dr. Okonkwo said. “HDFT has the potential to be a game-changer in the way we handle TBI and other brain disorders.”

Co-authors include lead author Samuel L. Shin, Ph.D., Allison J. Hricik, M.S., Megan Maserati, and Ava M. Puccio, Ph.D., all of the Department of Neurological Surgery; Timothy Verstynen, Ph.D., Sudhir Pathak, M.S., and Kevin Jarbo, all of LRDC; and Sue R. Beers, of the Department of Psychiatry, all of the University of Pittsburgh.

The study was funded by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency

When One Side Does Not Know About the Other One: Specialization and Cooperation of the Brain Hemispheres

Science Daily (Mar. 2, 2012) — Whenever we are doing something, one of our brain hemispheres is more active than the other one. However, some tasks are only solvable with both sides working together. PD Dr. Martina Manns and Juliane Römling of the Ruhr-Universität Bochum are investigating, how such specializations and co-operations arise. Based on a pigeon-model, they are demonstrating for the first time in an experimental way, that the ability to combine complex impressions from both hemispheres, depends on environmental factors in the embryonic stage.

Within the egg bird embryos always turn their head in such a way that one eye is turned close to the eggshell, and the other one is covered by the body. This causes an asymmetrical light stimulation, which influences developmental processes in both brain halves. PD Dr. Manns uses this mechanism for her experiment. One group of embryos hatch in a lighted incubator, another one in complete darkness. Afterwards the scientists analyze the degree of interhemispheric communication in both groups. The results show that information exchange is impaired without light-stimulation. This research sheds light on the origin of communication processes in the brain. Developmental disorders like ADHD or autism are characterized by a deviating pattern between the two brain halves. Therefore, there is a possibility that the results may help to understand those disorders and give hints for new therapeutic approaches.

Classification of colour-pairs

To determine how efficient the animals are able to handle incoming information, Manns and Römling confront the animals with a task that can only be solved with both brain hemispheres working together. For that purpose, the two psychologists use colour-pairs of a transitive line(A>B>C>D>E) at which one of the elements is rewarded with food. First the pigeons have to learn to discriminate the combinations A/B and B/C with one eye, and C/D and D/E with the other one. Afterwards, they can use both eyes to decide between, for example, the colours B/D. However, only birds with embryonic light experience are able to solve this problem.

Eating Berries Benefits the Brain

Science Daily (Mar. 7, 2012) — Strong scientific evidence exists that eating blueberries, blackberries, strawberries and other berry fruits has beneficial effects on the brain and may help prevent age-related memory loss and other changes, scientists report. Their new article on the value of eating berry fruits appears in ACS’ Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry.

Barbara Shukitt-Hale, Ph.D., and Marshall G. Miller point out that longer lifespans are raising concerns about the human toll and health care costs of treating Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of mental decline. They explain that recent research increasingly shows that eating berry fruits can benefit the aging brain. To analyze the strength of the evidence about berry fruits, they extensively reviewed cellular, animal and human studies on the topic.

Their review concluded that berry fruits help the brain stay healthy in several ways. Berry fruits contain high levels of antioxidants, compounds that protect cells from damage by harmful free radicals. The two also report that berry fruits change the way neurons in the brain communicate. These changes in signaling can prevent inflammation in the brain that contribute to neuronal damage and improve both motor control and cognition. They suggest that further research will show whether these benefits are a result of individual compounds shared between berry fruits or whether the unique combinations of chemicals in each berry fruit simply have similar effects.

Overeating May Double Risk of Memory Loss

ScienceDaily (Feb. 13, 2012) — New research suggests that consuming between 2,100 and 6,000 calories per day may double the risk of memory loss, or mild cognitive impairment (MCI), among people age 70 and older.

The study was just released and will be presented at the American Academy of Neurology’s 64th Annual Meeting in New Orleans April 21 to April 28, 2012. MCI is the stage between normal memory loss that comes with aging and early Alzheimer’s disease.

“We observed a dose-response pattern which simply means; the higher the amount of calories consumed each day, the higher the risk of MCI,” said study author Yonas E. Geda, MD, MSc, with the Mayo Clinic in Scottsdale, Arizona and a member of the American Academy of Neurology.

The study involved 1,233 people between the ages of 70 and 89 and free of dementia residing in Olmsted County, Minn. Of those, 163 had MCI. Participants reported the amount of calories they ate or drank in a food questionnaire and were divided into three equal groups based on their daily caloric consumption. One-third of the participants consumed between 600 and 1,526 calories per day, one-third between 1,526 and 2,143 and one-third consumed between 2,143 and 6,000 calories per day.

The odds of having MCI more than doubled for those in the highest calorie-consuming group compared to those in the lowest calorie-consuming group. The results were the same after adjusting for history of stroke, diabetes, amount of education, and other factors that can affect risk of memory loss. There was no significant difference in risk for the middle group.

“Cutting calories and eating foods that make up a healthy diet may be a simpler way to prevent memory loss as we age,” said Geda.

The co-authors of the study include Ronald C. Petersen, MD, Fellow of the American Academy of Neurology, and other investigators of the Mayo Clinic Study of Aging in Rochester, Minn.

The study was supported by the National Institutes of Health, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the Robert H. and Clarice Smith and Abigail van Buren Alzheimer’s Disease Research Program.

Good Aerobic Capacity Promotes Learning

Aerobic fitness has a favorable effect on cognitive functions. For example, physically active elderly people are less prone to aging-related cognitive decline than those who lead a sedentary lifestyle. An increase in physical activity raises both aerobic capacity and learning ability in both humans and animals. However, it is not known whether it is the aerobic capacity or the pleasure and enrichment of physical activity that promotes cognitive functions.

A study conducted by research groups at the University of Jyväskylä shows that aerobic fitness — not physical activity as such — promotes cognitive abilities.

– In this study, we used rat strains raised at the University of Michigan. They had been selectively bred over 23 generations for their endurance running capacity. Due to this breeding, there were natural-born long-distance runners and very poor runners. Results from a test that is a counterpart to the human maximal endurance test indicate that the difference between these strains was 500%, says Heikki Kainulainen, Professor of Exercise Physiology.

– Rats were trained in a discrimination learning test that measures flexible cognition. They were first taught to fetch a food reward in the presence of one tone and to ignore the other one. After learning this rule, the stimulus assignment was reversed and they were required to abandon the old rule and learn a new one, describes Dr. Jan Wikgren, Senior Researcher at the Department of Psychology.

It was found that rats with intrinsically high aerobic capacity clearly outperformed those with intrinsically low aerobic capacity. It must be emphasized that the animals were not given any physical exercise before the learning test. Thus, the results suggest that it is the aerobic capacity and not physical activity alone that is related to flexible cognition.

The results gave rise to many questions. Probably the most crucial seeks to determine the neurobiological mechanisms that mediate the effect of aerobic capacity on brain function.

– In future experiments we aim at studying the possible differences between these strains from the molecular to neurophysiological levels of analysis. Ultimately, we hope to investigate plausible exercise interventions that protect the brain from the detrimental effects of aging, Wikgren and Kainulainen explain. At least it is safe to say that physical activity is good for your brain at any age.

Novel Brain Tumor Vaccine Acts Like Bloodhound to Locate Cancer Cells

ScienceDaily (Jan. 5, 2012) — A national clinical trial testing the efficacy of a novel brain tumor vaccine has begun at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center, the only facility in the Southeast to participate. The vaccine will be tested in patients with newly diagnosed glioblastoma multiforme (GBM), the most aggressive and highest grade malignant glioma. Wake Forest Baptist will treat a minimum of 25 patients in this randomized, placebo-controlled phase II clinical trial of ICT-107. A total of 20 sites across the country are participating in the trial to test the safety and efficacy of this novel cancer vaccine.

All patients enrolled in the study will receive the current standard treatment for GBM, which includes surgery followed by radiation and chemotherapy. Two thirds of the participants will then also get the experimental vaccine treatment, which will be administered in the post radiation phase of treatment, while the others will get a “dummy,” or placebo vaccine in addition to standard therapy.

“This vaccine is for newly-diagnosed patients,” said Glenn Lesser, M.D., a professor of internal medicine, hematology-oncology, at Wake Forest Baptist and principal investigator for the study. “Scientifically, it’s a very well designed study and we are excited to participate in this clinical trial. We’ve been asked to participate based on our reputation as an outstanding brain tumor center and the expertise our center has with bringing novel therapies and novel therapeutics to patients.”

The approach with this particular vaccine is unique, Lesser added, because it is targeting the antigens or proteins that are present on glioma stem cells, whereas other treatment approaches mostly target differentiated tumor cells.

“The antigens used in this vaccine target the tumor stem cells — the handful of cells that keep the tumor alive and dividing. Most of the cells we kill with standard treatment are likely not the ones driving the tumor growth. If the stem cells aren’t targeted, they keep generating more tumors.”

According to the biotechnology company that is conducting the trial, the Phase I clinical study of ICT-107 in GBM involved 16 newly-diagnosed patients who received the vaccine in addition to standard therapy — surgery, radiation and chemotherapy. Those patients demonstrated a one-year overall survival of 100 percent and a two-year survival of 80 percent. Although only a small number of patients were treated, these results compare favorably with historical 61percent one-year and 26 percent two-year survival with standard care alone.

Vaccines for brain tumors are new and experimental, said Lesser, but are gaining more attention in the glioma world. “Vaccines are a way to harness the body’s own defenses — which are usually used to ward off or control infections like the flu — to fight cancer cells instead,” Lesser explained. “It is a way of presenting antigens or proteins normally found on the surface of the cancer cells to the immune system so that immune cells can seek out and kill those cancer cells anywhere in the body. This is not unlike giving a piece of clothing to a bloodhound and then letting it loose to find a missing person.”

Wake Forest Baptist is also involved in another brain tumor vaccine trial for patients with low-grade or slower growing gliomas. Among the targets of both of these vaccines is a new protein found on the surface of glioma cells discovered by Waldemar Debinski, M.D., Ph.D, director of the Wake Forest Baptist Brain Tumor Center of Excellence.

“Early studies of vaccines for patients with brain tumors are showing promising results,” Lesser said. “We want to help definitively determine how good these novel therapies really are for patients.”

What Determines the Capacity of Short-Term Memory?

ScienceDaily (Dec. 15, 2011) — Short-term memory plays a crucial role in how our consciousness operates. Several years ago a hypothesis has been formulated, according to which capacity of short-term memory depends in a special way on two cycles of brain electric activity. Scientists from the Nencki Institute of Experimental Biology of the Polish Academy of Sciences in Warsaw have now demonstrated this experimentally for the first time.

A human being can consciously process from five to nine pieces of information simultaneously. During processing these pieces of information remain in the short-term memory. In 1995 researchers from Brandeis University in Waltham suggested that the capacity of short-term memory could depend on two bands of brain’s electric activity: theta and gamma waves. However, only now, through carefully designed experiments conducted at the Nencki Experimental Biology Institute of the Polish Academy of Sciences (Nencki Institute) in Warsaw, it was possible to unambiguously prove that such a relationship really exists.

For an electroencephalography exam (EEG) several electrodes are placed on patient’s head. The recorded brain electric signals contain waves of different frequencies, among other theta waves with the frequency of 4-7 Hz and gamma waves with the frequency of 25-50 Hz. It has been known for some time that these waves are used for retaining information in the brain. It was observed for example that the amplitudes of theta and gamma waves increased when people were forced to store more information in short-term memory.

“The hypothesis formulated by Lisman and Idiart in 1995 assumes that we are able to memorise as many ‘bites’ of information, as there are gamma cycles for one theta cycle. Research to date provided only indirect support for this hypothesis,” say psychologist Jan Kamiński, PhD student from the Nencki Institute and main author of experiments conducted by the team of Prof. Andrzej Wróbel in cooperation with Dr. Aneta Brzezicka from the Warsaw School of Social Sciences and Humanities.

A ‘bite’ of information refers to its portion in memory. A ‘bite’ may be a number, letter, idea, situation, picture or smell. “Designing experiments on the capacity of memory one needs to be very careful not to make it too easy for the subject to group many ‘bites’ into one,” stresses Kamiński and as an example gives the following sequence of letters: 2, 0, 1, 1. “Such four ‘bites’ of information are easy to group into the number corresponding to current year. Instead of four bites of information we are left with just one.”

Interpreting the length of theta and gamma waves from EEG recording is not easy either. These waves are not directly visible in the EEG signal. Kamiński proposed a new method of determining them. Researchers recorded brain’s electric activity in seventeen volunteers resting with closed eyes for five minutes. Next they filtered the signals and analysed not the cycles themselves but their correlations. Only based on discovered correlations the ratio of the length of theta wave to gamma wave was determined and the likely capacity of verbal short-term memory was determined.

Following the EEG recording, the volunteers, were subjected to classic short-term memory capacity test. It consisted of repeated display of longer and longer sequences of numbers. Each number was presented for one second. Then volunteers had to reconstruct the sequence from memory. At first the sequence consisted of three numbers but at the end of the exam of as many as nine. “We have observed that the longer the theta cycles, the more information ‘bites’ the subject was able to remember; the longer the gamma cycle, the less the subject remembered. Next we determined the correlation between the results of the tests and estimates from the EEG measurements. Just as expected the correlation turned out to be very high and it confirmed the hypothesis of Lisman and Idiart,” says Kamiński.

Capacity of short-term memory impacts the effects of reasoning — the greater the capacity, the better the effects. Currently researchers conduct studies on developing the most effective ways of training short-term memory.