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 Science, 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.
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