Is Memory Loss Reversible?

A team of Columbia University Medical Center (CUMC) researchers has found that deficiency of a protein called RbAp48 in the hippocampus is a significant contributor to age-related memory loss and that this form of memory loss is reversible.åÊ

The hippocampus, a brain region that consists of several interconnected subregions plays a vital role in memory. It was initially thought that age-related memory loss is an early manifestation of Alzheimer’s. These finding offer the strongest causal evidence that age-related memory loss and Alzheimer’s disease are distinct conditions.åÊ

Using live lab mice and eight human brains that were donated for science, the team found that a gene called RbAp48 was linked to the kind of memory loss associated with aging.
The amount of protein the gene produced was almost 50 percent lower in old brains than in younger ones, said the study in the US journal Science Translational Medicine.

They found that switching off the protein in younger mice made them forgetful, while increasing the protein in older mice boosted their memory.

The study was designed to look for more direct evidence that age-related memory loss differs from Alzheimer’s disease.

“The fact that we were able to reverse age-related memory loss in mice is very encouraging,” said lead researcher, Nobel laureate Eric R. Kandel, MD in a release. “But at the very least, it shows that this protein is a major factor, and it speaks to the fact that age-related memory loss is due to a functional change in neurons of some sort. Unlike with Alzheimer’s, there is no significant loss of neurons.”

Source: Science Daily