Scientists reverse memory loss in animal brain cells
HOUSTON - (April 16, 2013) - Neuroscientists at The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston (UTHealth) have taken a major step in their efforts to help people with memory loss tied to brain disorders such as Alzheimer’s disease.
Using sea snail nerve cells, the scientists reversed memory loss by determining when the cells were primed for learning. The scientists were able to help the cells compensate for memory loss by retraining them through the use of optimized training schedules. Findings of this proof-of-principle study appear in the April 17 issue of The Journal of Neuroscience.
“Although much works remains to be done, we have demonstrated the feasibility of our new strategy to help overcome memory deficits,” said John “Jack” Byrne, Ph.D., the study’s senior author, as well as director of the W.M. Keck Center for the Neurobiology of Learning and Memory and chairman of the Department of Neurobiology and Anatomy at the UTHealth Medical School.
Sounds like nice doctorate work. The leap from sea snail to human clinical trials may take another couple of semesters, perhaps with a new grant and student volunteers next year. Or they may be able to take an intermediate step with fruit flies or even some messy transgenic rodents. The description that they "demonstrated the feasibility of our new strategy" seems IMO to be a little over-enthusiastic based on this little report, but such is the world of basic academic research. All kidding aside, this type of work is meaningful, and where potential breakthroughs are often conceived. Thanks for the post.