Drug Boosts Rats’ Memory
Based on research done with rats, a cancer drug shows promise in helping dementia and Alzheimer’s patients regain the ability to make new memories.
The drug is used in cancer therapy to prevent the activation of genes that turn normal cells into cancerous ones. Its effects on the brain, according to a study published in the Journal of Neuroscience, suggest that it helps make neurons better able to make connections and enhances memory.
Researchers found that when they gave the drug to rats, it made their hearing better, and they were better able to retain and remember more information and develop connections that allowed memories to be transmitted between brain cells.
They discovered this by teaching rats to associate a certain sound with a reward. They found the rats given the drugs responded more frequently and correctly than those that were not given the drug. The drugs were able to give the rats an enhanced ability to reorganize and create new pathways so more information could become long-term memory.
This new research suggests that the drug could help “rewire” the brain in dementia and Alzheimer’s patients, but much more testing, particularly in humans, is necessary.