A group of doctors and scientists from The University of New Mexico and the Mind Research Network are testing a new technique in an effort to increase learning and memory in older adults with and without memory impairments.

The Modern Energetic Methods of Response Improvement (MEMORI) study uses tiny electric currents applied to the scalp, called Transcranial Electrical Stimulation (TES). Scientists say the current is so small that most people can’t even feel it.

The study, funded by the National Institutes of Health, will help researchers learn more about memory loss and how brain stimulation may be used to improve learning and memory in older adults. More than six million Americans have Alzheimer’s Disease and over 50 million people worldwide. According to scientists at UNM, these numbers are expected to double in the next 30 years. Early symptoms include difficulty remembering recent events; there can also be problems with language, confusion, mood, motivation, aggression and other behavioral issues.

“There are no approved treatments to correct the underlying illness,” said Dr. Vincent Clark, Psychology Clinical Neuroscience Center director. “The approved medications help some to compensate for memory loss and confusion, but patients often complain of side effects.”

Clark says the TES method has been used in hundreds of healthy, young adults – finding in multiple studies that it more than doubles learning and produces few side effects. This will be the first trial of this method in older adults.

Eligibility Requirements:

  • Adults between 50 - 90 years old
  • Generally healthy
  • Either have good memory or have been diagnosed with memory deficits such as Mild Cognitive Impairment (MCI) or early-stage Alzheimer’s Disease

Participants will also receive up to $205 as reimbursement for their time and effort. Each participant can also receive a free copy of the MRI scan and a radiologist’s report.

Individuals interested in participating can email memoristudy@mrn.org or call 505-221-6884 for more information.