A recent MedicalExpress article discussed a new treatment that could improve short term memory. A team of scientists from the University of Birmingham and Beijing Normal University are experimenting with using laser light therapy to improve short term memory. The treatment is called transcranial photobiomodulation (tPBM), and it focuses on the right prefrontal cortex of the brain, which is vital for working memory. In studies, the team showed that several minutes of treatment could improve working memory by up to 25%.
The study, conducted at Beijing Normal University, included 90 participants between the ages of 18 and 25. Each subject received laser light therapy, but in different ways. Some received light treatment in their right prefrontal cortex at 1,064 nm wavelengths, some received shorter wavelengths, and some received it in the left prefrontal cortex. Everyone was treated with inactive tPBM to rule out the placebo effect. After the treatment, they were asked to remember the orientations or color of a set of items on a screen. Those who received laser light to the right prefrontal cortex at 1,064 nm showed clear improvements compared to the others. The team is unclear why the treatment worked, or how long the effects will last, but is planning further research.