An experimental drug completely regenerates parts of the brain crucial to forming memories, according to researchers who performed tests on rats. Moreover, the drug's effects linger after it clears from a rat's system, so it may lead to a convenient treatment for people with disease-related memory loss, they say.
As people reach age 30, the neural mechanisms that form memories begin to deteriorate. Some diseases accelerate that decline. One strategy to restore this capacity is to increase production of a protein called brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF), which stabilizes the memory-making operation.
Studies of cells in the laboratory have shown that drugs called ampakines elevate production of BDNF. One ampakine is currently being tested in people with Alzheimer's disease.
In the new study, researchers gave another ampakine, called CX929, to 8-to-10-month-old rats whose memory mechanisms had totally deteriorated with age, reports Julie Lauterborn of the Univ