Dopamine To Boost Your Memory

A German study has recently shown that the neurotransmitter dopamine, also known as the "feelgood hormone", improves long-term memory. It is released by the brain when we feel happy or pleased. It has already been shown in animal studies that the brain has to release dopamine to store experiences permanently. It has now been shown that dopamine has a positive impact on episodic memory, a part of our long-term memory we use to remember events in which we were personally involved. The researchers worked with test subjects between the age of 65 and 75. Half of the group was given Levodopa, a substance that is converted into dopamine by the brain, while the other half was given a placebo. Both groups were given a task in which they had to recognize previously shown photographs of landscapes and indoor-scenes and then asked to differentiate these images from new pictures. Two and six hours later, the participants were asked to recognize and distinguish them from new images. The first test round showed no major difference between the two groups. The second test, six hours later showed that the group which had been given Levodopa recognized up to 20 per cent more images than the other group. These results confirmed what the researchers had presumed: Dopamine contributes to permanently storing memories and may also "improves the survival chances of memory content," according to team leader Emrah Düzel.


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