Prolonged rote learning produces delayed memory facilitation and metabolic changes in the hippocampus of the ageing human brain
Roche, Richard A.P. and Mullally, Sinéad L. and McNulty, Jonathan P. and Hayden, Judy and Brennan, Paul and Doherty, Colin P. and Fitzsimons, Mary and McMackin, Deirdre and Prendergast, Julie and Sukumaran, Sunita and Mangaoang, Maeve A. and Robertson, Ian H. and O'Mara, Shane (2009) Prolonged rote learning produces delayed memory facilitation and metabolic changes in the hippocampus of the ageing human brain. BMC Neuroscience, 10 (136). ISSN 1471-2202
Repeated rehearsal is one method by which verbal material may be transferred from short-to long-term memory. We hypothesised that extended engagement of memory structures through prolonged rehearsal would result in enhanced efficacy of recall and also of brain structures implicated in new learning. Twenty-four normal participants aged 55-70 (mean = 60.1) engaged in six weeks of rote learning, during which they learned 500 words per week every week (prose, poetry etc.). An extensive battery of memory tests was administered on three occasions, each six weeks apart. In addition, proton magnetic resonance spectroscopy (1H-MRS) was used to measure metabolite levels in seven voxels of interest (VOIs) (including hippocampus) before and after learning.
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