Magnets Help Regrow Brain Cells
Magnets may offer a way to boost mental performance, US research suggests.
Scientists in New York promoted the growth of new neurons in the brains of mice using a magnetic stimulus in the region associated with memory.
Presenting the results at the American Academy for Neuroscience conference, the researchers said the results may lead to treatments for Alzheimer"s.
However, if proven the technique is more likely to be a way of slowing progression of the disease than a cure.
Experts said the work was encouraging but would need to be replicated in humans.
Trans cranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) has been used to treat certain disorders, including depression and schizophrenia and to rehabilitate people after stroke.
It used a magnetic coil to introduce electrical fields in the brain, which activates or deactivates groups of neurons.
To look at the effect of TMS on growth of neurons, Dr Fortunato Battaglia and Dr Hoau-Yan Wang at City University in New York, gave mice the therapy for five days and then examined their brains, New Scientist magazine reported.
They found large increases in the proliferation of stem cells--immature cells that go on to develop into nerves and other kinds of tissue--in a part of the brain called the dentate gyrus hippocampus.
These cells divide throughout life and are believed to play a crucial role in memory and mood regulation.
In particular they found one receptor in the cells was activated.
A subsequent study which is due to be published shortly showed that the activity of this receptor declines in mice and humans with Alzheimer"s disease.
Scientists in New York promoted the growth of new neurons in brains cells using a magnetic stimulus in the region associated with memory.