Episodic memory is a cognitive function that appears more susceptible than others to the effects of aging. The main aim of this study is to investigate if the magnitude of functional hemispheric lateralization during episodic memory test was positively correlated with memory performance, proving the presence of a beneficial pattern of neural processing in high-performing older adults but not in low-performing participants.We have applied anodal transcranial Direct Current Stimulation (tDCS) or sham stimulation over left and right hemisphere in a group of young subjects and in high-performing and low-performing older participants during an experimental verbal episodic memory task.Remarkably, young individuals and high-performing older adults exhibited similar performances on episodic memory tasks and both groups showed symmetrical recruitment of left and right areas during memory retrieval. In contrast, low-performing older adults, who obtained lower scores on the memory tasks, demonstrated a greater engagement of the left hemisphere during verbal memory task. Furthermore, structural equation model was performed for analyzing the interrelations between the index of interhemispheric asymmetry and several neuropsychological domains. We found that the bilateral engagement of dorsolateral prefrontal cortex and parietal cortex regions had a direct correlation with memory and executive functions evaluated as latent constructs. These findings drew attention to brain maintenance hypothesis. The potential of neurostimulation in cognitive enhancement is particularly promising to prevent memory loss during aging.
- Non invasive brain stimulation