Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Scripps Florida scientists shed light on age-related memory loss and possible treatments

03.04.2012
Fruit flies offer insights on aging

Scientists from the Florida campus of The Scripps Research Institute have shown in animal models that the loss of memory that comes with aging is not necessarily a permanent thing.

In a new study published this week in an advance, online edition of the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Ron Davis, chair of the Department of Neuroscience at Scripps Florida, and Ayako Tonoki-Yamaguchi, a research associate in Davis's lab, took a close look at memory and memory traces in the brains of both young and old fruit flies.

What they found is that like other organisms—from mice to humans—there is a defect that occurs in memory with aging. In the case of the fruit fly, the ability to form memories lasting a few hours (intermediate-term memory) is lost due to age-related impairment of the function of certain neurons. Intriguingly, the scientists found that stimulating those same neurons can reverse these age-related memory defects.

"This study shows that once the appropriate neurons are identified in people, in principle at least one could potentially develop drugs to hit those neurons and rescue those memories affected by the aging process," Davis said. "In addition, the biochemistry underlying memory formation in fruit flies is remarkably conserved with that in humans so that everything we learn about memory formation in flies is likely applicable to human memory and the disorders of human memory."

While no one really understands what is altered in the brain during the aging process, in the current study the scientists were able to use functional cellular imaging to monitor the changes in the fly's neuron activity before and after learning to view those changes.

"We are able to peer down into the fly brain and see changes in the brain," Davis said. "We found changes that appear to reflect how intermediate-term memory is encoded in these neurons."

Olfactory memory, which was used by the scientists, is the most widely studied form of memory in fruit flies—basically pairing an odor with a mild electric shock. These tactics produce short-term memories that persist for around half an hour, intermediate-term memory that lasts a few hours, and long-term memory that persists for days.

The team found that in aged animals, the signs of encoded memory were absent after a few hours. In that way, the scientists also learned exactly which neurons in the fly are altered by aging to produce intermediate-term memory impairment. This advance, Davis notes, should greatly help scientists understand how aging alters neuronal function.

Intriguingly, the scientists took the work a step further and stimulated these neurons to see if the memory could be rescued. To do this, the scientists placed either cold-activated or heat-activated ion channels in the neurons known to become defective with aging and then used cold, or heat, to stimulate them. In both cases, the intermediate-term memory was successfully rescued.

The study, "Aging Impairs Intermediate-Term Behavioral Memory by Disrupting the Neuron Memory Trace," was supported by the Ellison Medical Foundation and the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science.

Mika Ono | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.scripps.edu

More articles from Health and Medicine:

nachricht Biofilm discovery suggests new way to prevent dangerous infections
23.05.2017 | University of Texas at Austin

nachricht Another reason to exercise: Burning bone fat -- a key to better bone health
19.05.2017 | University of North Carolina Health Care

All articles from Health and Medicine >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Can the immune system be boosted against Staphylococcus aureus by delivery of messenger RNA?

Staphylococcus aureus is a feared pathogen (MRSA, multi-resistant S. aureus) due to frequent resistances against many antibiotics, especially in hospital infections. Researchers at the Paul-Ehrlich-Institut have identified immunological processes that prevent a successful immune response directed against the pathogenic agent. The delivery of bacterial proteins with RNA adjuvant or messenger RNA (mRNA) into immune cells allows the re-direction of the immune response towards an active defense against S. aureus. This could be of significant importance for the development of an effective vaccine. PLOS Pathogens has published these research results online on 25 May 2017.

Staphylococcus aureus (S. aureus) is a bacterium that colonizes by far more than half of the skin and the mucosa of adults, usually without causing infections....

Im Focus: A quantum walk of photons

Physicists from the University of Würzburg are capable of generating identical looking single light particles at the push of a button. Two new studies now demonstrate the potential this method holds.

The quantum computer has fuelled the imagination of scientists for decades: It is based on fundamentally different phenomena than a conventional computer....

Im Focus: Turmoil in sluggish electrons’ existence

An international team of physicists has monitored the scattering behaviour of electrons in a non-conducting material in real-time. Their insights could be beneficial for radiotherapy.

We can refer to electrons in non-conducting materials as ‘sluggish’. Typically, they remain fixed in a location, deep inside an atomic composite. It is hence...

Im Focus: Wafer-thin Magnetic Materials Developed for Future Quantum Technologies

Two-dimensional magnetic structures are regarded as a promising material for new types of data storage, since the magnetic properties of individual molecular building blocks can be investigated and modified. For the first time, researchers have now produced a wafer-thin ferrimagnet, in which molecules with different magnetic centers arrange themselves on a gold surface to form a checkerboard pattern. Scientists at the Swiss Nanoscience Institute at the University of Basel and the Paul Scherrer Institute published their findings in the journal Nature Communications.

Ferrimagnets are composed of two centers which are magnetized at different strengths and point in opposing directions. Two-dimensional, quasi-flat ferrimagnets...

Im Focus: World's thinnest hologram paves path to new 3-D world

Nano-hologram paves way for integration of 3-D holography into everyday electronics

An Australian-Chinese research team has created the world's thinnest hologram, paving the way towards the integration of 3D holography into everyday...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Marine Conservation: IASS Contributes to UN Ocean Conference in New York on 5-9 June

24.05.2017 | Event News

AWK Aachen Machine Tool Colloquium 2017: Internet of Production for Agile Enterprises

23.05.2017 | Event News

Dortmund MST Conference presents Individualized Healthcare Solutions with micro and nanotechnology

22.05.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

How herpesviruses win the footrace against the immune system

26.05.2017 | Life Sciences

Water forms 'spine of hydration' around DNA, group finds

26.05.2017 | Life Sciences

First Juno science results supported by University of Leicester's Jupiter 'forecast'

26.05.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>