Methylene Blue could help improve memory, new study suggests

Methylene Blue is a drug you've possibly never heard of before, but it's been in use for nearly a century. These days, the drug is primarily used to treat methemoglobinemia, a disease that affects the ability of soft tissue to absorb oxygen from the bloodstream, but a new study suggests it may have some exciting uses for improving memory and attention.

The small study was published by the Radiological Society of North America and centers around a double-blind, placebo-controlled test of 26 adults, who were given either a single low dose of Methylene Blue or the aformentioned placebo. Using MRIs, the team of doctors measured brain activity as the subjects performed mental tasks. The subjects were given MRIs both before and an hour after taking Methylene Blue or the placebo to measure the difference in brain activity during attention and memory-related tasks.

The results were encouraging, as the study says a increase in MRI activity was observed "during sustained attention and short-term memory tasks," in the subjects who took Methylene Blue. The study also showed a 7% increase in correct answers during memory retrieval activities. This isn't the first time that a link between Methylene Blue and an improvement in memory has been suggested, either, so this study seems to fall in line with the results of earlier studies.

So what does this mean for Methylene Blue's ability to improve memory or prevent memory degradation? Nothing significant yet. Remember, the study was small, and even if the sample size were larger, one study on its own doesn't necessarily prove anything. However, the promising results of this study open the door for larger studies that delve deeper into Methylene Blue's potential benefits for memory and attention. It certainly will be exciting for researchers who have been studying ways to improve memory, as Methylene Blue is a common drug that won't exactly be in short supply. It'll also be interesting to see what this group of doctors is able to discover now that they're moving forward with the information gained from this study.

The study was performed by doctors at The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio and The University of Texas at Austin. It was published in the scientific journal Radiology by the Radiological Society of North America under the title "Multimodal Randomized Functional MR Imaging of the Effects of Methylene Blue in the Human Brain."