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Alzheimer’s disease: measuring brain waves could diagnose dementia early – new study

4 16 13

Our visual memory system has a phenomenally large capacity. Flick through the image gallery on your phone, or fast forward through a previously watched movie, and notice how the briefly presented images trigger memories with little or no effort on your part. Well, my colleagues and I have harnessed this passive visual memory system to develop a test that might one day be used to diagnose Alzheimer’s disease.

The person being tested is fitted with an electroencephalography (EEG) cap to record their brain activity and shown a series of images of everyday objects on a computer screen. They then watch a stream of different images, periodically interspersed with one of the images they saw initially. The images are presented on the screen at a rate of three images per second (3Hz).

The pictures they were first shown appear as every fifth image. If the person remembers the image, the EEG readout shows a distinct neural response, and another one five images later, and so on. By looking at the EEG signals for activity at this specific frequency (0.6Hz), we can measure the strength of a person’s memory........

© The Conversation

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