Researchers find novel memory-enhancing mechanism in brain

Dec 14, 2010
brain

(PhysOrg.com) -- UC Irvine researchers have identified a novel mechanism in the brain that boosts memory.

In collaboration with scientists at Germany's University of Munster, the UCI team found that a small protein called neuropeptide S can strengthen and prolong memories of everything from negative events to simple objects.

According to study leader Rainer Reinscheid, UCI associate professor of pharmaceutical sciences, the discovery could provide important clues about how the brain stores memories and also lead to new treatments for Alzheimer's disease, and other cognitive impairments.

"Additionally, it may help us better understand post-traumatic stress disorder, which involves exaggerated memories of traumatic events," he said.

In tests on mice, the researchers observed that if neuropeptide S receptors in the were activated immediately after a , it could be recalled for much longer and with much greater intensity.

This memory enhancement lasted up to a week, Reinscheid said, but when NPS receptor activation was disrupted, the mice didn't remember events as strongly – if at all – when tested just a day or two later.

Study results, which appear in a Dec. 8 advance online article for the journal Neuropsychopharmacology, are in accordance with Reinscheid's previous findings that NPS causes wakefulness and has a calming effect.

"It appears that the combination of increased alertness and reduced anxiety produced by NPS prepares the animals to learn much better," he said. " is remarkably improved after activation of their NPS system, and the effects are long-lasting, independent of content."

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Provided by University of California - Irvine

4.6 /5 (15 votes)

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User comments : 6

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dirk_bruere
2 / 5 (1) Dec 14, 2010
One for students...
trekgeek1
3.5 / 5 (2) Dec 14, 2010
New Monster energy with neuropeptide S!!!! Seize the beast and your finals!!!!
knowitall599
not rated yet Dec 14, 2010
awesome. Go pharmacists.
TAz00
5 / 5 (2) Dec 15, 2010
How they resist trying it on themselves, baffles me.
patnclaire
1 / 5 (1) Dec 15, 2010
How were the NPS receptors stimulated? Chemically or Electrically?
Milou
not rated yet Dec 15, 2010
Should have used it on ex-President Reagan with his famous "I don't seem to remember" trick.