Tackling Age-Related Memory Loss

As scientists learn more of the biochemical mechanisms of memory, the first old-school drug pipeline products to treat the results of age-related cellular damage on these mechanisms are turning up at the door. Researchers "showed that ampakine drugs continue to reverse the effects of aging on a brain mechanism thought to underlie learning and memory even after they are no longer in the body. ... in the ampakine-treated rats, there was a significant increase in the production of brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF), a protein known to play a key role in memory formation. They also found an increase in long-term potentiation (LTP), the process by which the connection between the brain cells is enhanced and memory is encoded. This enhancement is responsible for long-term cognitive function, higher learning and the ability to reason. With age, deficits in LTP emerge, and learning and memory loss occurs." This is very early stage research, needless to say.

Link: http://today.uci.edu/news/release_detail.asp?key=1509

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