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A gene that stimulates growth of new brain cells in adults

RATE THIS! +32
Posted in Science on 17th Jun, 2014 02:00 AM by AlexMuller

Over-expressing a specific gene could prompt growth of new neurons in the hippocampus, where learning and memory are regulated. The study, which used an animal model, found that over-expression of the TLX gene resulted in smart, faster learners that retained information better and longer.

 
Understanding the link between this gene and the growth of new neurons, or neurogenesis, is an important step in developing therapies to address impaired learning and memory associated with neurodegenerative diseases and aging. The new research was published June 9 in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
 
“Memory loss is a major health problem, both in diseases like Alzheimer’s, but also just associated with aging,”said Yanhong Shi, Ph.D., lead author of the study and a neurosciences professor at City of Hope.
 
“In our study, we manipulated the expression of this receptor by introducing an additional copy of the gene, which obviously we cannot do outside the laboratory setting. The next step is to find the drug that can target this same gene.” 
 
Researchers found that over-expression of the gene was actually associated with a physically larger brain, as well as the ability to learn a task quickly. Furthermore, over-expression of the gene was linked with the ability to remember, over a longer period of time, what had been learned. The discovery creates a new potential strategy for improving cognitive performance in elderly patients and those who have a neurological disease or brain injury.

Tags: braingenesgeneticsmemoryaging

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Comments

Author: Guest
Posted: 2014-06-17
+3
There many good news from the field of neuroscience. This article presents one very encouraging finding- the ability to use gene therapy to regenerate brain. However, there is a lot to be done before considering using this approach in humans Reply
Author: Guest
Posted: 2014-06-17
+1
This is an encouraging trend. It was only in the past couple of decades that scientists have found evidence of neurogenesis in later adulthood — occurring mostly in the hippocampus, the region of the brain associated with learning and memory. Reply


 

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