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Scientists figure out a way to help reverse age-related memory loss – this could be the end of Alzheimer’s

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Manish Saini
Manish works as a Journalist and writer at Revyuh.com. He has studied Political Science and graduated from Delhi University. He is a Political engineer, fascinated by politics, and traditional businesses. He is also attached to many NGO's in the country and helping poor children to get the basic education. Email: Manish (at) revyuh (dot) com

According to the researchers, this finding may lead to the development of therapies to help individuals avoid memory loss as they age.

Although the study was done on mice, the same method may be utilised in people since the chemicals and structures in the human brain are similar to those discovered in rodents.

The research, which was published in the journal Molecular Psychiatry, looked at how changes in the extracellular matrix of the brain contributed to memory loss as people become older.

The researchers discovered a method to use genetic therapies to help reverse these changes, and they think it may be feasible to prevent people from suffering memory loss later in life.

By increasing levels of chondroitin 6-sulphate using the viral vector memory and plasticity levels were restored to levels similar to healthy mice.

The research examined perineuronal networks (PNNs), which are proteoglycan-containing chondroitin proteoglycan complexes on the neural surface involved in neuroplasticity and memory regulation.

Age-related decreases in 6-sulphate chondroitin (C6S) lead to a greater inhibition of PNNs.

The researchers examined whether altering the chondroitin sulphate (CS) content of PNNs might restore neuroplasticity and ameliorate memory impairments in elderly mice.

To do so, scientists looked at 20-month-old mice, who are regarded to be very elderly, and used a series of tests to demonstrate that they had memory impairments when compared to six-month-old mice.

One of the tests included determining the mice’s capacity to recognise an item.

The mouse was put at the beginning of a Y-shaped labyrinth and instructed to investigate two similar items at the ends of the two arms.

After a short time, the mouse was put in the labyrinth again, but this time one arm held a new item and the other contained a duplicate of the repeating object.

The researchers then timed the mouse’s exploration of each item, noting whether it recalled the object from the prior challenge.

The elder mice had a significantly lower chance of remembering the item.

On the ageing mice, a ‘viral vector’ was employed, which is a virus capable of restoring the quantity of 6-sulphate chondroitin sulphates to the PNNS.

It was found that this completely restored memory in the older mice to a level similar to their younger counterparts.

Scientists observed that restoration of C6S levels in older animals has recovered memory deficit and long-term cortical potential and suggested a method to increase memory deficiency associated with ageing.

Dr. Jessica Kwok, of the University of Leeds’ School of Biomedical Science, said:

We saw remarkable results when we treated the ageing mice with this treatment.

The memory and ability to learn were restored to levels they would not have seen since they were much younger.

Professor James Fawcett of Cambridge University’s John van Geest Center for Brain Repair added:

What is exciting about this is that although our study was only in mice, the same mechanism should operate in humans – the molecules and structures in the human brain are the same as those in rodents.

This suggests that it may be possible to prevent humans from developing memory loss in old age.

Image Credit: Getty

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