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Jun 12, 2020

Switching off noisy neurons in mice restores memories lost to Alzheimer’s

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, neuroscience

Researchers in Germany have discovered a new mechanism by which Alzheimer’s disease impairs memory recall – and, importantly, found a way to reverse it in mice. Neurons encoded with existing memories are being drowned out by noise from neurons encoding new experiences, and silencing these allowed the mice to regain lost memories.

The hippocampus is the region of the brain responsible for encoding experiences into memories, by building networks of neurons that store the information. When we recall a previous situation, those same neurons are activated. But when Alzheimer’s strikes, the hippocampus is usually one of the first brain regions to go. This manifests as the familiar memory loss and confusion that patients suffer from.

It was previously thought that the disease impairs the neurons containing memories so that they can’t be activated during recall, and eventually the memory they hold is lost. But the new study, from researchers at the German Center for Neurodegenerative Diseases (DZNE), found a different mechanism at work.

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