Memory training can even re-engage the hippocampus, part of the brain critical for memory formation, according to the findings by the Emory University School of Medicine, which is conducting studies into mild cognitive impairment (MCI).
MCI is meant to identify those at increased risk of Alzheimer's disease. Such people have difficulty forming new memories but are still able to handle daily tasks, because of impaired function in brain parts including the hippocampus, the journal Hippocampus reports.
Researchers at Emory and Atlanta Veterans Medical Center have been investigating memory-building strategies for people with MCI. 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.
"Our results suggest that these strategies can help patients remember specific information, such as the locations of objects," says Benjamin Hampstead, neuropsychologist and assistant professor of rehabilitation medicine at Emory, according to an Emory statement.
"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," said Hampstead.