Our memory can improve with training

A focused training programme can serve to improve a person's memory, new research has found. Published in the journal Hippocampus, the study suggested such a strategy might prove beneficial for individuals who often forget everyday matters, such as where they left their car keys.

Investigators from Emory University School of Medicine - which has more than 150 years of experience in medical education - and Atlanta Veterans Affairs Medical Center discovered these techniques can help people recall specific information.

The research found training methods can help to re-engage the hippocampus - the region of the brain that assists in the forming of new memories.

Anthony Stringer, Professor of Rehabilitation Medicine and Psychology, said: "This is an initial, albeit encouraging, step in determining methods that can help these patients function better in their everyday lives."

Krish Sathian, a Professor of Neurology, Rehabilitation Medicine and Psychology, noted the findings are promising because they promote neuroplastic changes in significant regions of the brain.

Dr Lance Workman, Chartered Psychologist, commented: "Beginning with rats and then with various species of birds, it has been known for some time that an area of the brain very much involved in memory formation, the hippocampus, can develop new neurones even in adulthood.

"Recent research with humans has confirmed that this is also true for our species.

"This new research is quite exciting since it demonstrates that, even in people with cognitive impairment, following the appropriate form of training there may be sufficient plasticity in this area of the brain to help improve memory - leading to hope for all of us."