The results of the research conducted by our University, in collaboration with CTOs and neuroscientists from the UK, Japan and Germany, have been published in the Journal of Neuroscience

New neurophysiological techniques are coming that can evaluate the function of brain circuits whose malfunction causes diseases such as dementia. In the future, these techniques could be the basis for more effective neuro-rehabilitation programs. It is the result of an international study, published in the journal Journal of Neuroscience. The research saw the participation of the Prof. Vincenzo Di Lazzaro, Head of the Neurology Unit of our University, together with other neuroscientists from the United Kingdom, Japan, Germany and with Prof. Paolo Mazzone, neurosurgeon of the CTO of Rome. For the first time in the world, researchers have been able to evaluate the functioning of complex circuits of the cerebral cortex, composed of more than 20 types of neurons, and which are involved in memory functions. It has also been demonstrated that these brain circuits, which supervise different forms of learning, in particular motor learning, are functionally independent, even if closely connected at an anatomical level.

"Using transcranial magnetic stimulation techniques, a type of superficial, non-invasive brain stimulation - has explained Di Lazzaro - we were able to demonstrate the existence of circuits of independent neurons even in a very small area of ​​the human brain. Although spatially close, these circuits can be selectively activated. Modulating them, therefore, through magnetic stimulation, it is possible to obtain effects on specific forms of cerebral plasticity, i.e. the set of changes in the cerebral cortex that occur during learning and which are the basis, for example, of the mnemonic function".

In addition to the development of new forms of neuro-rehabilitation, the effects will be applicable to various fields of neuroscience: from psychology to the study of learning processes. With the possibility, in the background, of the use of new and more effective methods of non-invasive activation of the brain circuits linked to mnemonic functions. In this way, their function could be enhanced in patients suffering from highly disabling forms of memory disorder, such as dementia, for which there is currently no effective treatment. These are pathologies whose number, with the general aging of the population, is destined to grow considerably in the next twenty years. According to the most recent data released by the Italian Society of Neurology, memory impairment currently affects about 7 percent of the general population over 65, reaching up to 30 percent of over year olds.