Patients with Alzheimer’s Disease still in its early phase are given new hope by an UCLA study. The lengthy experiments conducted by UCLA researchers show that lost memories are not gone for good. According to their research, memories can be come back.
For quite a long time, the majority of neuroscientists had alleged that memories are stockpiled at the synapses level. Synapses are the links between neurons that are altered by Alzheimer’s. But the new scientific inquiry suggests that long haul memory is not backed up in synapses. The full study is available in eLife, a very respected open-access online science diary.
According to David Glanzman, the main author behind the research, even if this is a radical idea, there is proof that supports it. He alleges that there are indications that the nervous system is, in fact, capable of recovering missing synaptic connections. He concluded that, if the neurotransmitters are set back in place, than memory might also return. However, this is still only a hypothesis.
The study was carried out on Aplysia, a marine snail species, focusing on the creatures’ memory and learning dynamics. The snail presents a defensive reflex that allows it to safeguard its gill from potential damage. What interested the scientists was its pulling out response as well as the tactile and motion neurons that create it.
Consequently, they improved the snail’s withdrawal reaction with a couple of mellow electrical stuns on its tail. Since the snail started reacting faster and better over time, the scientists believe that the marine creature features some sort of long-term memory.
Glanzman’s group discovered the same pattern when considering the snail’s neurons in a Petri dish. The same thing happened. The reactions came along with a release of serotonin. This hormone leads to the creation of new synaptic links. However, when the production of serotonin was trailed by the expansion of a substance that represses protein combination, the new synaptic development was blocked and long term memory failed to appear.
Another part of the study focused on analyzing whether neural connections vanished when memories did. To figure that out, the researchers counted the quantity of neural connections in the dish and a day after that they put in a protein blend inhibitor. Another day later they discovered that new synapses had still appeared and the synaptic associations between the neurons had been fortified. The conclusion was that late treatment with the inhibitor did not affect the long-term memory.
According to Glanzman, his experiments could have noteworthy ramifications for individuals with Alzheimer’s Disease. The fact that the malady is known to pulverize neural connections in the brain doesn’t imply that memories are shattered.
He pointed that if the neurons are still alive, so will the memory, which in turn implies that patients might develop the capacity to recuperate a percentage of the lost memories in the early phases of Alzheimer’s.
Since in the later phases of Alzheimer’s neurons are killed, it is most probable that in the given cases memories cannot be restored.
The cell and sub-atomic process of marine snail appear to be very similar to those of humans, even if a snail has about 20,000 neurons and a human being has 1 trillion. Each neuron has as well more than a few thousand synapses.
Image Source: Sci Tech Daily