Zapping white, not gray, matter improves memory test results, new research suggests
BOSTON — Conflicting results on whether brain stimulation helps or hinders memory may be explained by the electrodes’ precise location: whether they’re tickling white matter or gray matter.
New research on epilepsy patients suggests that stimulating a particular stretch of the brain’s white matter — tissue that transfers nerve signals around the brain — improves performance on memory tests. But stimulating the same region’s gray matter, which contains the brain’s nerve cells, seems to impair memory, Nanthia Suthana, a cognitive neuroscientist at UCLA, reported March 25 at a meeting of the Cognitive Neuroscience Society.
A groundbreaking study by Suthana and colleagues, published in 2012 the New England Journal of Medicine, found that people performed better