Long-term memories lost after brain damage can be restored in mice, according to a paper published in Nature. Li-Huei Tsai and colleagues report that environmental enrichment reinstated learning and long-term memories, as did compounds known as histone deacetylase (HDAC) inhibitors, which might represent a potential therapeutic approach to treating dementia.
It has previously been shown that environmental enrichment and HDAC inhibitors improve learning of new memories in mice. In the present study, the authors tested transgenic mice in which they were able to turn 'on' and 'off' a protein that induces neuronal damage, giving them control over when the mice were able to form memories relative to the time of neuronal damage. They report that environmental enrichment and HDAC inhibitors allowed the recovery of previously learned long-term memories, despite the severe brain damage suffered by the mice.
Li-Huei Tsai (MIT Brain and Cognitive Sciences, Cambridge, MA, USA)
Abstract available online.
(C) Nature press release.
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