The Prospects for Memory Enhancement

Via EurekAlert!: "Over-expressing a gene that lets brain cells communicate just a fraction of a second longer makes a smarter rat ... Dubbed Hobbie-J after a smart rat that stars in a Chinese cartoon book, the transgenic rat was able to remember novel objects, such as a toy she played with, three times longer than the average Long Evans female rat, which is considered the smartest rat strain. ... This adds to the notion that NR2B is a universal switch for memory formation ... The finding also further validates NR2B as a drug target for improving memory in healthy individuals as well as those struggling with Alzheimer's or mild dementia ... NR2B is a subunit of NMBA receptors, which are like small pores on brain cells that let in electrically-charged ions that increase the activity and communication of neurons. Dr. Tsien refers to NR2B as the 'juvenile' form of the receptor because its levels decline after puberty and the adult counterpart, NR2A, becomes more prevalent. While the juvenile form keeps communication between brain cells open maybe just a hundred milliseconds longer, that's enough to significantly enhance learning and memory and why young people tend to do both better."

Link: http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2009-10/mcog-sr101909.php

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