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Poster F51

Developing a method to improve memory in the home, overnight, suitable for helping people with age-related memory impairments

Poster Session F - Tuesday, April 16, 2024, 8:00 – 10:00 am EDT, Sheraton Hall ABC

Erika M. Yamazaki1, Nathan W. Whitmore2, Ken A. Paller1; 1Northwestern University, 2Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Sleep supports memory consolidation, thereby preventing some memories from being forgotten, and it can be harnessed for various goals. Using Targeted Memory Reactivation (TMR), reminder sounds played softly during sleep can induce replay of specific memories, thus enhancing subsequent remembering for that information. We adapted this procedure for use in improving memory in the home, with the future goal of partially offsetting memory problems in seniors, including those with early-stage Alzheimer’s Disease. Here, in healthy young adults, we tested whether we could improve recall for names and associated biographical information. On Day 1, participants learned biographical information about 20 simulated family members (e.g., “Your oldest son is Henry; Henry is an engineer”). They were then tested about relationships and facts (e.g., “Your oldest son is___? Henry’s occupation is___?”). On Day 2, participants learned interfering biographical information about 10 simulated neighbors, followed by memory testing. While participants slept over the next three nights, they received auditory stimulation using wearable sleep technology and algorithms we developed for this purpose. Participants received sounds corresponding to the simulated family (n=20) or frequency-matched control sounds (n=20). On Day 5, memory was tested to determine whether TMR produced a memory benefit. Free recall of names and biographical information for the simulated family improved in the TMR group, whereas it declined in the control group (Day-5 vs. Day-1 recall). Testing older individuals is now warranted, as this procedure appears to hold promise for helping individuals experiencing occasional difficulty recalling loved-ones’ names or other high-value information.

Topic Area: LONG-TERM MEMORY: Development & aging


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April 13–16  |  2024