Of mice and memory

Study suggests Alzheimer’s and age-related memory loss are distinct

Scientists have discovered evidence suggesting age-related memory loss and pre-Alzheimer’s disease are distinct conditions.

Researchers at Columbia University Medical Center examined young and old brains donated by people who died without signs of neurological disease, finding that a certain gene in a part of the hippocampus—the dentate gyrus, responsible for memory, and a different area of the brain than where Alzheimer’s starts to form—stops producing a key protein in older individuals, according to SFGate.com.

The researchers found that cutting levels of the protein, RbAp48, in young mice made the rodents lose their way in mazes and perform worse on memory tasks. Interestingly, the memory loss was reversible; boosting levels of the protein made old mice perform like young mice again.