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Brain Researchers Look to Erase Memory Problems

April 6 2009 | by

Researchers are experimenting with a drug, that, when delivered to certain areas of the brain, may help erase certain memories. According to the New York Times, the drug blocks the activity of a substance that the brain apparently needs to retain much of its learned information. And if enhanced, the substance — a molecule called PKMzeta — could help ward off dementias and other memory problems.

Such experiments are part of a growing interest in the field of neuroscience, or the study of the brain. The National Institutes of Health last year spent $5.2 billion, nearly 20 percent of its total budget, on brain-related projects, according to the Society for Neuroscience.

According to the New York Times, researchers found that brain cells activated by an experience keep one another on biological speed-dial, like a group of people joined in common witness of some striking event. Call on one and word quickly goes out to the larger network of cells, each apparently adding some detail, sight, sound, smell. The brain appears to retain a memory by growing thicker, or more efficient, communication lines between these cells. The
PKMzeta molecule looked as if it might be the one that kept the speed-dial function turned on.

Read more at the New York Times

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