Memory, learning and cognitive flexibility depend on a protein ‘off-switch’ in the brain, according to a breakthrough discovery made by an international research collaboration co-led by the University of Warwick.
This new knowledge could enable us to better understand and combat neurological diseases which inhibit memory, such as Alzheimer’s.
- Memory and learning depend on a protein ‘off-switch’ in the brain – new University of Warwick research
- Arc protein increases rapidly in the brain during learning – researchers made unprecedented discovery that the protein must be rapidly switched off for us to remember facts
- When Arc protein does not get switched off, the brain loses cognitive flexibility
- Discovery could help us understand and combat neurological diseases which inhibit memory, like Alzheimer’s
Dr Mark Wall from Warwick’s School of Life Sciences, with researchers from the University of Bradford and Georgia State University, have found that the Arcprotein – which increases in the brain during learning – needs to be rapidly switched off and removed shortly after we have received new information, in order for us to remember and retain it.
The significance of Arc in regulating the brain’s memory and learning process was already known – but the vital importance of its ‘off-switch’ and removal remained hidden until now.
Cognitive flexibility allows us to learn and adapt to the world around us, picking up and remembering new pieces of information such as visual and audio clues to inform how we act and react to changing situations.
In people living with neurological conditions, such as Alzheimer’s disease, cognitive flexibility is reduced – causing altered behaviour, confusion, and an inability to learn and retain new information, such as the location of a building or a person’s name.
The research suggests that this lack of cognitive flexibility and inability to learn and remember new information could result from Arc protein not being fully switched off and thus persisting in the brain.
Clinical researchers could use this key discovery to better comprehend and treat diseases like Alzheimer’s by targeting the ‘off-switch’, and finding out what causes it to malfunction.
Dr Mark Wall, Director of Biomedical Science at the University of Warwick’s School of Life Sciences, commented:
“To give an analogy to explain our findings: Imagine you are staying at a hotel for a couple of weeks. After the first week, the manager changes your room but won’t tell you where your new room is located. To find your new room, you would have to test your key in each hotel room door until it opened your door. However, once found, the next time you returned to the hotel, you would be able to locate your room quickly using a series of spatial cues that could include which floor your room was on, how far your room was from the elevator, and whether it was located near a fire exit.
Dr Sonia A.L. Corrêa in the Faculty of Life Sciences at the University of Bradford continued:
“Now, imagine a situation where every time you returned to the hotel you had to test your key in every room door until you found your room. This inability to adjust your strategy to find the location of your new room is known as cognitive inflexibility and this what happens if the Arc protein is not switched off correctly. As we age, this altered behaviour occurs more frequently and more importantly, this type of behaviour is found in some forms of neurological conditions including Alzheimer’s disease.”
To make their discovery, the researchers generated a mouse with a mutated form of the Arc protein that did not get switched off or removed. They found that mice containing this mutation were behaviourally normal but had specific defects in cognitive flexibility.
The Latest on: Memory and learning
via Google News
The Latest on: Memory and learning
- Here's why you should be excited for Bright Memory: Infiniteon May 11, 2020 at 2:00 pm
Infinite was one of the highlights of the Xbox Series X showcase, since it was one of the trailers that showed actual gameplay. Besides just looking pretty, here's why you should be hyped for this ...
- How to work from home and find balance during lockdownon May 11, 2020 at 12:18 pm
Working from home during lockdown can lead to feelings of cabin fever and isolation that ultimately hurt productivity.
- Inspur Announces its Latest Open AI, Compute, and Networking Solutionson May 11, 2020 at 11:36 am
Inspur revealed its latest Open Computing innovations that continue to advance open computing systems. Offerings include ...
- Concordia students explore bereavement through photography, and machine learning for improved rehab technologieson May 11, 2020 at 11:27 am
Concordia doctoral candidates in communications studies and information systems engineering, respectively — are the latest recipients of the university’s Stand-Out Graduate Research Awards. The prize ...
- Lifetime of MosaLingua Language Learning Fluency price dropped to just $77on May 11, 2020 at 6:08 am
Pick up the skills you need to use the language in any situation and store up to 6,000 keywords and expressions in your long-term memory, and choose content depending on your needs and your level.
- New Learning and Writing Tool to be Featured on Zulilyon May 6, 2020 at 5:32 am
Moto Sign and Media Corporation is proud to announce that their patented 'writing tool' (the HandMoto) shall be featured on Zulily.com from ...
- Distinct and combined responses to environmental geometry and features in a working-memory reorientation task in rats and chickson May 5, 2020 at 2:20 am
The original provocative formulation of the ‘geometric module’ hypothesis was based on a working-memory task in rats which suggested that spontaneous reorientation behavior is based solely on the ...
- 6 Lines From Kim Dong Wook And Moon Ga Young That Made Hearts Flutter In “Find Me In Your Memory”on May 4, 2020 at 11:30 am
Kim Dong Wook and Moon Ga Young are touching the hearts of viewers with their superb acting skills and stirring lines in “Find Me in Your Memory” as they portray characters who work together to heal ...
- 5 Traps That Will Kill Online Learning (and Strategies to Avoid Them)on May 1, 2020 at 8:43 am
For perhaps the first time in recent memory, parents and teachers may be actively encouraging their children to spend more time on their electronic ...
via Bing News