Hope for Meds to Enhance Memory
Scientists at the University of Pennsylvania have identified key molecules that help convert short-term memories into long-term ones. According to a release from the university, the finding helps explain how an experience becomes a memory that can be accessed months and even years later.
Better yet, the molecules may be a target for drugs that would enhance memory and alleviate some of the cognitive decline that occurs with Alzheimer's, depression, Parkinson's and schizophrenia.
The study, which was published in the Journal of Clinical Investigation, focused on a group of proteins called nuclear receptors that can bind to DNA and regulate the activity of other genes. Their regulatory role may be significant in memory formation because gene transcription is required to turn short-term memories into long-lasting ones by strengthening neuronal synapses in the brain.
The release quotes lead author Joshua Hawk, now a postdoctoral research fellow at Yale University, as saying, “The more selective we can get for the pathway that’s enhancing memory, the more likely we can find effective drugs.”