A study conducted by a Norwegian scientist at the Arizona State University has
found that bees can become mentally young again by making few alterations to
their fixed routine.
Scientists examined the learning and memory and also analyzed proteins involved
in growth, repair and maintenance of brain in young bees. They found that there
is division of labor between the young and older bees. The young bees tend to
brood the larva in the hive while older bees go in search for nectar and
pollen. Similarly, there is a difference between the two groups in the learning
abilities and memory. Younger bees are more capable in making connections between
a stimulus and a reward and they remember this connection for a longer time. But
older bees have a short term memory and learning. This result suggests that
older bees might be experiencing dementia.
However researchers noticed that by switching the tasks between the bees, as
in putting older bees with the brood, there was a rapid alternation in both
their learning abilities and memory. This social change also reflected in
changes in expression of eight proteins in the brains of the older bees. This study
holds significance as several of these proteins are found in humans also which
suggests that humans too could have a similar potential of reversing the aging
process. Further studies will have to be carried out in this direction.