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March 09, 2001 Scientists Discover Memory-Enhancing Switch Scientists have genetically engineered mice with enhanced memory that persists until researchers switch it off by removing a drug that controls a gene that encodes a key memory-governing enzyme. With enhanced memory, the mice perform better on memory tests and then revert to normal when the drug is removed. The achievement, say the researchers who developed the mouse model, offers important insights into the delicate molecular balance by which memory storage is achieved. Although memory-boosting drugs are a long way off, the researchers believe that the work opens new avenues for understanding the molecular basis of memory.
Study Raises Hope for Memory Recovery in Alzheimer's 16 July, 2005 14:34 GMT Some recovery of memory may be possible in the early stages of Alzheimer's disease, suggests a provocative new study in mice that could help researchers open a two-pronged attack against the mind-robbing illness.The research shows a mutant protein named tau is poisoning brain cells, and that blocking its production may allow some of those sick neurons to recover. It worked in demented mice who, to the scientists' surprise, regained memory fairly rapidly. The mice were bred so that eating a certain antibiotic would switch off a gene responsible for producing the bad tau. Here's the first surprise: As tau production plummeted, the rodents' memory loss didn't just stop -- they regained some memory. It wasn't a full recovery -- dead brain cells can't be brought back -- but after repeated retesting to confirm the results, Ashe concluded that memory function improved to about half the predemented state. Also, neuron death stopped.