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Tuesday, May 1st 2007

Recovering Memories

Scientists at MIT have used a histone decarboxylase inhibitor to restore learned tasks in mice suffering from an Alzheimer’s model.

“We show the first evidence that even if the brain suffered some very severe neurodegeneration and the individual exhibits very severe learning impairment and memory loss, there is still the possibility to improve learning ability and recover to a certain extent lost long-term memories.”

She said the study suggested that in people with degenerative brain diseases, memories were not erased from the brain, but rather could not be accessed because of the disease.

She added that while most treatments for Alzheimer’s targeted the disease’s early stages, this research showed that even after major brain damage it was still possible to improve learning and memory.

HDCAis are getting diverse attention. Histone Decarboxylase has previously been implicated in regulating the rb and p53 genes, and so is getting a lot of attention in cancer research (here and here).

Let’s hope if these results ever come to fruition that you’re never taking it for both uses. :)

The Nature article is subscription only (or a whopping $18 just for the study itself!).