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UQ targets senior moments

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Forgotten where you’ve put the car keys? Can’t remember the name of your next-door neighbour?

If you’re healthy and aged 55 or older then a University of Queensland medical trial might be just the thing for you.

Associate Professor Marcus Meinzer from the UQ Centre for Clinical Research (UQCCR) is trialling a unique, non-invasive technique to prevent mental decline in that age group.

He said the trial involved transcranial direct current stimulation, which used very weak electrical stimulation to influence brain activity.

“We have already used this technique in small groups of older volunteers and the results have been promising,” he said.

“Our group and others have shown that older people who received the stimulation experienced significant benefits, including improvement in their working memory, their ability to name pictures, recall words, and learn and locate objects.”

A larger-scale trial could show that the technique was a viable approach to delay or even reverse age-associated mental decline and dementia.

Professor Meinzer said that in an ageing society, it would become increasingly important to help preserve the mental function of people as they aged.

“Therapies such as this will help our older citizens to remain independent for longer and reduce the burden on our health system that comes from caring for those with significant age-related mental decline,” he said.

The Brisbane-based research will take place at the UQCCR building, adjacent to the Royal Brisbane and Women’s Hospital at Herston.

People interested in participating can contact Garon Perceval at UQCCR: email g.perceval@uq.edu.au or on 0421 235 651.

(Source: The University of Queensland)

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Posted On: 28 November, 2014
Modified On: 26 November, 2014

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