New Drug May Help Mild Age-Related Cognitive Decline

New Drug May Help Mild Age-Related Cognitive Decline

Mackenzie Thompson

by Mackenzie Thompson

Life Saver, AMC

posted on Mar 8, 2014, at 9:50 pm


THE HUMAN “WORKING MEMORY” is the type of memory that we use to recall day-to-day activities. Unfortunately, as we age, sometimes our working memory struggles with its job, making it hard to remember simple things. But researchers at the University of Florida have found a drug that could potentially lead to decreasing mild cognitive decline in older adults.

The correct balance of chemicals in the brain is necessary for the working memory to function correctly. High levels of GABA, an inhibitory brain neurotransmitter, may be throwing it off, according to the recent study conducted in rats. Moreover, GABA aids in the regulation of cell activation, but increased amounts cause the brain to be too active. Researchers associate this activity to the case of schizophrenia and epilepsy.

The team conducted a study to analyze both young and old rats’ memory by the use of a “Skinner box” (a box in which the rats had to remember the location of a lever for short periods of up to 30 seconds). Most rats could remember the location of the lever for a brief time period, but for the longer time periods, many of the older rats struggled to remember. The older rats that had the memory problems were found to have more GABA receptors and consequently more GABA levels than the older rats without memory issues. The team later found a drug that blocked GABA receptors and restored working memory in the older rats.

This new drug, although not yet ready for human testing, may be the gateway to treating the mild cognitive decline of seniors. Jennifer Bizon, part of the team at the university’s Department of Neuroscience, says, “Modern medicine has done a terrific job of keeping us alive for longer, and now we have to keep up and determine how to maximize the quality of life for seniors. A key aspect of that is going to be developing strategies and therapies that can maintain and improve cognitive health.”

To read the full article, visit Medical News Today

About Mackenzie

Mackenzie is a lover of world travel, photography, design, style and Chinese cooking. She is passionate about working towards a purpose, recently graduated from Indiana University with a degree in Media and Marketing, and is currently residing in Manhattan.

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