MIT researchers believe targeting treatment to this brain circuit could reverse memory decline

As we get older, the retention power of our memory often decreases. This makes it difficult to do everyday tasks. It becomes very difficult to remember things. For example, elderly people may forget by noon what they ate for breakfast. They may also find it difficult to recall a conversation they had with someone. A key brain region associated with this type of memory is the anterior thalamus, which is primarily involved in the memory of our surroundings and how to navigate them. The thalamus is an egg-shaped structure in the middle of the brain whose primary function is to transmit incoming sensory information – such as hearing, taste, sight and touch – from the body to the brain. However, it does not relay information related to smell.

In a recent study on rats, researchers have identified a circuit in the anterior thalamus that is key to remembering how to navigate a maze. They found that this circuit is usually impaired in older mice. But if the activity of this circuit is increased, it significantly improves the rats’ ability to operate the maze correctly.

the researchers Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) focused on this area Brain In his study, published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, and say it could be an ideal target for reversing treatments Commemoration harm in elderly people.

They say that if a non-invasive or minimally invasive technique is developed to target the treatment at this part of the human brain, it could provide a way to help prevent age-related memory loss.

Guoping Feng, senior author of the study said That instead of affecting the prefrontal cortex, which has many different roles, they wanted to uncover more specific and druggable targets in this region, by studying how the thalamus affects cortical output.

One advantage of targeting the thalamus for treatment is that it limits potential disturbances to other parts of the brain.

“We can trigger anxiety-related behavior by directly activating neurons in the medial prefrontal cortex, but this will not happen with AV (anteroventral) activation,” said study lead author Ying Zhang.


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