A key memory-enhancing molecule in mice that could pave the way for boosting cognitive functions in humans has been discovered by scientists.
The same biochemical pathway the molecule acts on might one day be targeted in humans to improve memory, according to the senior author of the study, Peter Walter, professor of biochemistry and biophysics at the University of California, San Francisco, and a Howard Hughes Investigator.
The discovery of the molecule and the results of the subsequent memory tests in mice were published May 28 in eLife, an online scientific open-access journal.
In one memory test included in the study, normal mice were able to relocate a submerged platform about three times faster after receiving injections of the potent chemical than mice that received sham injections.
The mice that received the chemical also better remembered cues associated with unpleasant stimuli -- the sort of fear conditioning that could help a mouse avoid being preyed upon, reports Science Daily.
Notably, the findings suggest that despite what would seem to be the importance of having the best biochemical mechanisms to maximise the power of memory, evolution does not seem to have provided them, Walter said.